Fairly small shorebird known for spinning frantically on water to stir up small invertebrates. Note thin, sharp bill. Breeding females are brighter and more contrasting than males: note white throat, reddish stripe on neck, and buffy stripes on back. Breeding males are duller, especially on head and neck. Nonbreeding is much less colorful: gray above and white below with streaky-looking back and black ear patch. Juveniles have blackish upperparts with buffy stripes, and a black ear patch. Breeds on Arctic tundra. Primarily found on the open ocean during migration and winter; also occurs on lakes, especially in western North America. Often in small flocks, but can gather in incredibly large numbers especially during fall migration. In migration mixes with Wilson’s Phalarope on inland lakes; Red-necked is smaller, more compact, and shorter-billed. On the ocean, frequently mixes with Red Phalarope, the only other oceanic shorebird; Red-necked is best distinguished by smaller size, thinner bill, and slightly darker, streakier-looking upperparts.
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