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Bird Details

Sandpiper Like Sandpiper Like

Wilson's Phalarope

Phalaropus tricolor

Wilson's Phalarope
copyright Robert Shantz
Length: 9 in. (24 cm)
This shorebird is limited to muddy flats, marshy ponds, and wet meadows. It has a peculiar foraging behavior of spinning like a top on the water's surface or running in circles on muddy banks picking with its bill at the surface for aquatic insects and crustaceans. Unlike most other bird species, the female in breeding plumage is much more colorful than the male. Also the females fight for males and have more than one mate. The nest is a small platform of grass hidden in low marshy areas. Most of the population winters in the Andes of South America and the lowlands or Argentina. The four-digit banding code is WIPH.
wilsons_phalarope_niehuis.jpg

Male
copyright Oliver Niehuis

Open water
Open water

Marsh / swamp
Marsh / swamp

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.