The Ruff is a wader breeding in the wetlands in northern Europe and Russia. In Finland, the Ruff breeds in the mires of Northern Finland. There are a few thousand pairs of breeding Ruffs in Finland and the estimates have decreased significantly in recent years. The Ruff is classified as critically endangered in the latest Finnish conservation status assessment. The adverse changes in the overwintering areas of the species in West Africa have been cited as one of the causes of the decline of the species.
In the spring, the Ruff gather in the lek sites like the black grouse. The males in their colourful nuptial plumage compete and try to mate with the females arriving at the breeding ground. It has been discovered that the female Ruffs search tournaments where there are plenty of males participating. After mating, the females will continue the breeding alone. As soon as the chicks hatch, they leave their nest pits on the ground, and they will be able to fly at about three weeks of age. Unlike other waders, the Ruff are very quiet birds.
Text: Jukka Jokimäki & Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki
Read more about Ruff:
Flying Arctic -frontpage.