Philomachus pugnax

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Ruffs belong to the family of sandpipers. Due to the destruction of their habitat, the birds, which are about 30 cm in size, are critically endangered in Germany and strictly protected. They are listed in Appendix 1 of the Federal Species Protection Ordinance and as a species in Appendix I of the EU Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC). In Germany, ruffs breed almost exclusively on the North Sea Coast but will visit stopover sites during their migrations. Stopover sites are found close by lakes, ponds and flooded fields, as well as bars in rivers (chiefly sand and gravel sediments). The breeding grounds - lowland freshwater marshes, damp grasslands and swamps - are most commonly found in Scandinavia and northern Russia. Ruffs eat insects and their larva, spiders, snails, worms and types of crab, as well as seeds. The females are almost exclusively responsible for building the nest and incubating and raising the chicks. The clutch of 4 conical grey-olive green eggs have grey to dark brown spots and hatch after 20 to 23 days. The chicks are precocial and quickly forage independently for food. The female takes the chicks under her wing for about ten days and they are fully fledged after a month.

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