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Wilson's Phalarope - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Phalaropus tricolor)
Female in breeding plumage
Photo © by smackay
Seattle, Washington, May 2003
Phalaropus tricolor

Steganopus tricolor


22–24 cm (8½-9½ in)

  • Lobed toes
  • Straight fine black bill

Breeding female

  • White face
  • Gray wings with chestnut bands
  • Pinkish foreneck
  • Black eyestripe, which continues down sides of neck
  • White underparts
  • Square white rump
Photo © by HelenB
Wilson's Phalarope in flight, over San Bernard NWR, Upper Texas Coast, April 2010

Breeding male - duller than the female; may lack reddish patches

  • Brown back

Young birds

  • Gray and brown upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Dark patch through the eye


  • Gray upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Retains dark eye patch


Shows square white rump and trailing yellow legs .

Similar Species

Can be confused with Lesser Yellowlegs and Stilt Sandpiper in winter plumage.


Photo © by Raul Padilla
Singuilucan, Mexico

Breeds in Canada and US; winters in western and southern South America.

Regular vagrant to the British Isles, usually in the Autumn.


This is a monotypic species[1].

It has sometimes been placed in a monotypic genus Steganopus[2].


Prairie lakes, marshes, pools, shores, mudflats, sand bars and river bankss.



The 3-4 eggs are laid in a ground nest near water. The male incubates the eggs and cares for the young. The chicks feed themselves once fledged.

The females leave the breeding grounds soon after laying the eggs.


Their diet consists mostly of small water insects. They agitate the water by swimming in small circles.


Voice: a grunted aangh
Flight call: vit' or chu


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728
  4. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition ISBN 0 00 219900 9
  5. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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