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In Kenya, males moult 3–4 weeks ahead of the females, finishing before December, whereas females typically complete feather replacement during December and early January.Juveniles moult from their first summer body plumage into winter plumage during late September to November, and later undergo a pre-breeding moult similar in timing and duration to that of the adults, and often producing as brightly coloured an appearance. The juvenile sharp-tailed sandpiper is a little smaller than a juvenile female ruff and has a similar rich orange-buff breast, but the ruff is slimmer with a longer neck and legs, a rounder head, and a much plainer face.This decline has seen it listed in the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).The ruff is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical shorebirds.The current name was first recorded in 1634, and is derived from the ruff, an exaggerated collar fashionable from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century, since the male bird's neck ornamental feathers resemble the neck-wear.The ruff has a distinctive gravy boat appearance, with a small head, medium-length bill, longish neck and pot-bellied body.
The upperparts are grey-brown, and the underparts are white with grey mottling on the breast and flanks.
The female and the non-breeding male have grey-brown upperparts and mainly white underparts.
Three differently plumaged types of male, including a rare form that mimics the female, use a variety of strategies to obtain mating opportunities at a lek, and the colourful head and neck feathers are erected as part of the elaborate main courting display.
The ruff (Calidris pugnax) is a medium-sized wading bird that breeds in marshes and wet meadows across northern Eurasia.
This highly gregarious sandpiper is migratory and sometimes forms huge flocks in its winter grounds, which include southern and western Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Australia. This species shows marked sexual dimorphism; the male is much larger than the female (the reeve), and has a breeding plumage that includes brightly coloured head tufts, bare orange facial skin, extensive black on the breast, and the large collar of ornamental feathers that inspired this bird's English name.