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Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus


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Red-necked Phalarope, breeding plumage
credit: Psychofox

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT breeding Female has brown upperparts (many back feathers have yellow-buff margins), white throat, dark cap, and reddish orange neck; gray breast and mottled flanks grade into white underparts. Summer male is similar, but colors are duller. ADULT WINTER Has mainly gray upperparts and white underparts, with grayish hindcrown and nape and black patch through eye. JUVENILE Recalls winter adult, but has brown upperparts with pale buff fringes to back feathers; gradually acquires gray back feathers in fall.

Dimensions Length: 7" (18 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common nesting species beside tundra pools. Winters at sea off South America. Migration is mainly at sea, but a few turn up on inland freshwater pools.

Observation Tips Easy to see, mid-May-Jul, in Arctic; otherwise seen on pelagic boat trips during migration or from coasts during on-shore gales in fall.

Range New England, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Western Canada, Southeast, Florida, Plains, California, Eastern Canada, Great Lakes, Northwest, Alaska

Voice Utters a sharp kip call.

Discussion Delightful and often tame little shorebird. Uses all-dark, needlelike bill to pick small invertebrates from water's surface, typically while swimming. Shows role reversal at nest and breeding females are brighter than males.