English and Scientific names:

Ruff  (Philomachus pugnax)

Number of individuals: 

1,male, winter plumage


Jefferson Davis

Specific Locality:

Flooded field 1 mile west of Hwy 3056 on the north side of Hwy 14.

Date(s) when observed:

2-25-2010  (stakeout from past week)

Time(s) of day when observed:  

5:45 PM to 6:15 PM

Reporting observer and address:

Melvin Weber
Reserve, La.

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Other reports turned in.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Excellent evening light to my back, clear sky.

Optical equipment: 

8x42 Binoculars and 30 power scope.

Distance to bird(s): 

200 to 250 feet

Duration of observation:

About 30 minutes


flooded field in rice country, flooded to levees so it looks like a pond.  Roughly 2 to 3 inches deep.

Behavior of bird: 

This bird was feeding, somewhat similar to Dowitcher but not sewing machine movements.  More shallow and erratic. Much more nervous looking then Yellowlegs.  It was also feeding in a field with Dowitchers however it remained at about a 10 foot distance form the Dowitcher flocks.


Large shorebird, similar in size to Greater Yellowlegs whom it was near at first.  Yellow legs similar to Yellowlegs.  Body seemed more plump then the Greater and back color was a little darker.  Head was probably the same size as the Greater however seemed smaller with larger body.  Bill noticeably shorter than Greater.  It seemed more like the length of a Lesser Yellowlegs however it was a lot heavier.  Bill appeared dark but probably not real black.  I didn't get to see the rump which I wanted since I never got to see it fly.  When it did fly I lost it.



Similar species:

This bird was a lot closer in looks to a Greater Yellowlegs than I thought it would look like.  It would be easy to overlook the larger body proportions if not paying attention.  The bill is the clincher.  It is way too heavy for a Lesser and noticeably too short for a Greater.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

My photos only show a large shorebird with its bill always under water.  At the distance taken there isn't much plumage information.

Previous experience with this species: 

This is a lifer.

Identification aids:

I had National Geographic and Sibley.

This description is written from: 

Memory ---5 hours ago.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


On my own, I may still have doubts, but because it is a stakeout from birders familiar with this species I feel OK.

Date and time: 

2-25-2010  10PM