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Douglas, Oregon, United States
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Charadriiformes > Scolopacidae

Red Phalarope

Phalaropus fulicarius

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Identification

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An oceangoing shorebird, this is the chunkiest and thickest-billed phalarope. Breeding females have a bright body the color of tomato juice; males are a duller color of watered down tomato juice. Also note white cheek, black crown, yellow bill, and black-and-gold pattern on back. Nonbreeding plumage is smooth gray above and white below with a black eye-patch. Juveniles are stained with buffy tones. Breeds on Arctic tundra; migrates and winters on the ocean. Rarely seen inland. Swims on the surface of the water like other phalaropes, picking invertebrates. Breeding plumage unmistakable but similar to Red-necked Phalarope in winter; best distinguished by paler plumage, larger size, and thicker bill. Usually seen in small flocks, but can gather in larger numbers; often mixes with Red-necked Phalarope.

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