Red Phalarope

Bird floating in water.

Red Phalaropes are irregular spring and abundant fall migrants in the Pribilof Islands. Every year between one and ten individuals are seen in spring, between mid May and mid June. A few birds may be detected through the summer, but by the third week in July Red Phalaropes become regular. Given good seawatching conditions Red Phalaropes should be present almost daily from the third week of July to October. These offshore flocks tend to feed along current lines or on Webster Lake, and can number into the low thousands of birds. The spring birds are usually found resting around the islands freshwater lakes and marshes. In spring the adults large size, bright red/orange coloration, and yellow-based bills will immediately set them apart from their more common Red-necked cousins. The fall flocks are often too far offshore to pick out fieldmarks on individual birds, and these distant flocks should be best regarded as Phalarope sp. unless birds come in close enough to see their lack of back streaks, thicker based bill and larger (more squat) bodies. Juvenile Red Phalaropes resemble young Red-necked Phalaropes but have a buffy breast and neck collar, and a streaked crown.

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