We finish with two birds, which look to be pretty much identical in size, shape and plumage. But both are preening, which doesn’t help you much. They are brown with neatly ‘scalloped’ or fringed wing and back feathers which imply that they are fresh juveniles. The underparts appear to be warm buff at the front end and white at the rear. The legs are quite long and greenish. The head looks relatively small, the neck long and the dark bill shortish (shorter than head length). The combination of this plumage pattern and the small headed, short-billed, full (or ‘pot’) belly and greenish legs points to these being of the renowned confusion species, which catches birdwatchers out every autumn: juvenile Ruff.
KEY FEATURES Small head and pot belly Neat fringing of upperpart feathers, buff underparts, white belly Small head with short bill on long neck Dull greenish legs
Small head, short bill Buff underparts, white at rear end Neatly fringed upperpart feathers