An oceangoing shorebird that spins frantically on the surface of water, stirring up invertebrates to eat. Breeds on the Arctic tundra; migrates inland or on the ocean; winters on the ocean. Usually found in small flocks, but can gather in incredibly large numbers, especially during fall migration. Very thin, sharp bill. Breeding plumage shows white throat, reddish patch on neck, and gray body with buffy markings on wings. Unlike most birds, female phalaropes are brighter than males. Nonbreeding much less colorful: gray above and white below with streaky-looking back and black ear patch. Occasionally found with similar-looking Red Phalarope, the only other oceanic shorebird. Red-necked is best distinguished by thinner bill and smaller size.