Phalaropus tricolor
(Wilson's Phalarope)

Order: Charadriiformes
Order Description: Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns
Family: Scolopacidae
Family Description: Sandpipers and Phalaropes

Physical Description:
8-10" (20-25 cm). Tall and trim, dark-winged phalarope with white rump. Needlelike black bill slightly longer than head. Gray above, white below. Breeding female: Broad black stripe starting at bill, crossing eyes and descending neck blends into rust-colored stripe that continues down back. Rust and gray mottled on back, wings and tail; legs black. Breeding male: Smaller and duller, with just a wash of cinnamon on the sides of neck and white spot on the hind-neck. In Fall, black fades to gray. Immature: Darker gray above with buffClick word for definition fringes and breast; yellowish legs.

Similar Species- Other Phalaropes, Lesser Yellowlegs

A low grunting wurk, wurk, wurk.

Breeds from British Columbia and southern Yukon, east across central Prairie Provinces to Great Lakes area and New Brunswick, and south to south- central California, Utah, eastern Arizona, western New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Midwest. Nonbreeders have been recorded in summer north to central Alaska and parts of western Canada. Winters mainly in western and southern South America, and casually north to southern California and southern Texas.

Found in freshwater marshes and wet meadows. When not breeding, also found on lakes, mudflats and salt marshes, along seacoasts, and at sewage ponds; rarely reported at sea.

Eats insects (larvae and adults), especially mosquitoes and craneflies. On salt flats, may feed on flies, brine shrimp, and seeds of aquatic plants.

Builds nest on damp ground; ground may be surrounded by water. Sometimes forms loose colonies, or feeds with other species. Feeds as it walk along muddy shores, wades in shallow water, or swims in whirls.

Breeding begins in mid- to late May. Male incubatesClick word for definition 3-4 eggs for about 20 days; female usually leaves before eggs hatch. Nestlings are precocialClick word for definition and downy. Young are tended by male. Female may acquire second mate and lay second clutchClick word for definition.

Element Code: ABNNF20010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,NZN

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.