Sunday, May 26, 2013
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Order: Charadriiformes Family: Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)
The Wilson’s phalarope is a small bird: 20-23 cm (8-9 in)
Unlike most bird species, the female phalaropes are the most colorful and bright of the two sexes. The females compete for the males. The male build the nest. And after the female lays the eggs, she leaves the parenting up to the male. They breed in wetlands and marshes across western North America and they winter in South America. Generally, they feed on mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, crane flies, and some seeds of aquatic plants. As you see in the video they sometimes feed by swimming in circles. This disturbs the water and helps bring food to the surface. Often the words swirl, whirl, or twirl is used to describe a group of phalaropes. But my favorite is a ‘whirligig’ of phalaropes.