Red Phalarope: Medium-sized sandpiper with dark gray upperparts and rufous neck and underparts. Head has white face, black cap, and a thick, straight, yellow bill with black tip. Feeds on small fish, insects and aquatic invertebrates. Flight is swift and direct with rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Red Phalarope: Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada; migrates along both coasts, very rarely in interior. Winters mainly at sea in Southern Hemisphere; irregular along the Pacific coast.
The Red Phalarope has a large range, estimated globally at 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 1,000,000 to 1,900,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Red Phalarope is Least Concern.
The Red Phalarope is known in Europe as the Grey Phalarope. It is the most pelagic of the 3 phalarope species, spending up to 11 months each year in marine habitats.
Females are larger and more brightly colored than males. The females pursue males, competes for nesting territory, and will aggressively defend their nests and chosen mates.
When feeding, it will often swim in a small, rapid circle, forming a small whirlpool. This behavior is thought to aid feeding by raising food from the bottom of shallow water.
A group of phalaropes has many collective nouns, including a "dopping", "swirl", "twirl", "whirl", and "whirligig" of phalaropes.