Surfbird is so named for its habits on its wintering grounds, where they
inhabit rocky shorelines, often foraging in and around the surf crashing on
the rocks. Their habitat is much different in summer, when they can be
found on higher-elevation tundra areas in Alaska. They are often
found in conjunction with Black Turnstones in their North American range.
Habitat: In migration and in winter, they are
found on rocky coastlines and rocky islands. In summer, they are found
on rocky tundra areas above the treeline in Alaska.
Diet: The diet when found on the coasts in winter
and in migration consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and other small
invertebrates. On the summer breeding grounds, they feed heavily on
insects and spiders.
Behavior: Surfbirds use their stout bills to pry
mollusks and crustaceans from rocky shorelines.
Nesting: The species builds a nest on the ground,
constructed of moss, lichens and dead leaves which are placed in a
depression on rocky ground. Both the male and female will incubate the
eggs and protect the young, but the young gather all of their food.
Song: Surfbirds are relatively quiet. Flocks
foraging on the shoreline will give a frequent squeaking sounds.
Flight and alarm calls consist of a series of buying notes.
Migration: Surfbirds are highly migratory.
In summer, breeding birds are found in select regions of Alaska. The
wintering range is much more spread out, with birds found along much of the
west coast of North America.
Structure, stout bill make the species generally distinctive. In
range, most likely species to be confused with the Surfbird is the
Conservation Status: There are currently no
perceived major threats to Surfbird populations, and Birdlife
International cites it as a species of "Least Concern".
Photo Information: December 2008 - Coastal
California near San Francisco - Terry Sohl