Ruddy Turnstones are stocky medium-sized waders. The head and neck are white with grey patches. The other upper parts are red-brown with brown and black patches. The breast is black with other underparts white. They have orange legs and a stout, black bill. When breeding the head and neck are white with black patches and the upperparts are red-brown with black patches.
Ruddy Turnstones are dumpy waders that act like small bulldozers as they move along the beach or rock platforms tossing aside rocks or seaweed in their search for sand hoppers and small molluscs. They migrate to breeding grounds in Eastern Siberia, departing around April and arriving back in the following September. They feed on insects, worms, crustaceans, molluscs and spiders. Occasionally eggs and carrion.