• WordNet 3.6
    • n turnstone migratory shorebirds of the plover family that turn over stones in searching for food
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Turnstone (Zoöl) Any species of limicoline birds of the genera Strepsilas and Arenaria, allied to the plovers, especially the common American and European species (Strepsilas interpres). They are so called from their habit of turning up small stones in search of mollusks and other aquatic animals. Called also brant bird sand runner sea quail sea lark sparkback, and skirlcrake.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n turnstone A small grallatorial bird of the genus Strepsilas, allied both to plovers and to sandpipers: so called from its habit of turning over little stones or pebbles on the sea-shore in search of food. The common turnstone or sea-dotterel is S. interpres. In full summer plumage this is one of the handsomest of its tribe, being pied with black, brown, white, and chestnut-red, and having orange feet; it is 8 to 9 inches long, and about 17 In extent of wings. It is nearly cosmopolitan in its extensive migrations, and breeds in high-latitudes. It is common in North America, especially coastwise, and there has many ocal nams, as brant-bird, beach-bird, whale-bird, heart-bird, chicken-bird, calico-bird, calico-back, calico-jacket, checkered snipe, sparked-back, streaked-back, red-legs, red-legged plover, bishop-plover, maggot-snipe, horse-foot snipe, chuckatuck, creddock, jinny, etc., derived from its appearance or habits. Among its English names are Hebridal sandpiper and variegated plover, stone-pecker, tangle-picker, etc. The black-headed turnstone, S. melanocephalus, is a different variety or species, mostly of a blackish color, found on the coasts of the North Pacific. See Strepsilas.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Turnstone a small grallatorial bird, intermediate between the true plovers and sandpipers, so called from its habit of turning over pebbles on the beach in search of food
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. tyrnan; Ger. turnen; Fr. tourner; all from L. tornāre, to turn in a lathe—tornus, a turner's wheel—Gr. tornos.


In literature:

The Turnstone belongs to a fourth family, but it is a very small one.
"Citizen Bird" by Mabel Osgood Wright and Elliott Coues
Even now I think with pity of one particular turnstone.
"The Foot-path Way" by Bradford Torrey
On these knolls they fed with semipalmated sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, and ruddy turnstones.
"Birds Found on the Arctic Slope of Northern Alaska" by James W. Bee
The stout, short-legged Turnstone is the most cosmopolitan of birds.
"An Australian Bird Book" by John Albert Leach
The Sea Dotterel which Wilkin supposes to be the Ring Plover, is undoubtedly the Turnstone.
"Notes and Letters on the Natural History of Norfolk" by Thomas Browne
"Color Key to North American Birds" by Frank M. Chapman

In news:

Articles from the pages of BirdWatching about oystercatchers, curlews, plovers, turnstones, and other shorebirds (or waders).
When ruddy turnstones arrive on the US coast in August, they're still decked out in their calico colors: black, white and rusty red.
Though all of them are born in the Arctic, ruddy turnstones spend only three months up there.
Turnstone Wheelchair Basketball Tournament .