The overall distribution of this species can be assessed, and
specific locations where birds have been spotted can be found,
based on individual sighting reports submitted by birdwatchers to
The global distribution of the Ruff is available
The Ruff is a strongly migratory species.
They are found primarily in Eurasia, but also - to a lesser degree
- in North America, along both the East and the West coast (hence
on all northern continents).
Their breeding grounds are located mostly in Arctic Eurasia, but
also in temperate climate areas.
The birds of the European/western Asian population winter in parts
of Africa (along the West and North coast, but also down the Nile
valley and throughout East and South Africa). Others stay in Asia
Minor, parts of the Middle East and (near-)coastal Arabia.
Birds from central/eastern Asia migrate to the border region of
Pakistan and India and further down the Indian West coast.
Others winter far-eastern and south-eastern Asia; some reach
During their migration they can be found almost anywhere between
breeding and wintering grounds.
In Australia the Ruff is an uncommon non-breeding migrant from the
North. It is found primarily in near-coastal (but not coastal)
wetlands almost around the Australian continent, except the South
coast from Eyre peninsula, SA, to the SW tip of WA. Ruffs have
also been reported from the lower Murray-Darling basin in the
border region of NSW and VIC.
During the breeding season Ruffs have a preference for taiga bogs,
marshes, swamps, submerged grassland, but also seashores. Outside
the breeding season they are found more generally in any type of
wetland with shallow water. In Australia they have a preference
for habitats with brackish water, such as
or eutrophic habitats, such as