This is the sort of wader that can give relative beginners nightmares. The warm plumage and neat fringing make it quite an attractive bird, but so confusing! Luckily, despite what you may think there are not that many waders which look quite like this. The peachy glow to the underparts and pale legs may have you thinking of the rare North American Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but that bird has a more delicate build and a distinctive pale, plain face with a dark staring eye and finer bill. The key to this bird’s ID is probably in the structure; it has an oddly small head and relatively short, very slightly drooping bill. That slightly ‘out of proportion’ combined with this plumage is typical of juvenile male Ruff.
KEY FEATURES Warm buff plumage throughout Neatly scalloped and fringed back and wing feathers Relatively small head and shortish, very slightly downcurved bill Legs are pale greenish Long downcurved black bill