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Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Summer plumage

General Description: Wilson's Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) are very small, short-legged shore birds that migrate through the Las Vegas area. Phalaropes are most easily recognized by their curious behavior of sitting on the water and swimming quickly in tight circles. This behavior creates a vortex that pulls deep water to the surface, which in turn brings bugs to the surface where Phalaropes can catch them.

Wilson's Phalaropes are recognized by the pale color and gray eyeline of the winter plumage. We rarely seem them in their summer plumage when they have a brown neck stripe. Wilson's are told from other Phalaropes by the eyeline rather than a distinct eye-patch.

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Scolopacidae, Scolopacinae.

Favored Habitat: Ponds and marshes.

Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Winter plumage

Where to Find: Around Las Vegas, look for this species at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, the Pahranagat Valley, and the Overton Wildlife Management Area.

Comments: These birds can be extremely abundant during migration, especially in places like Mono Lake in eastern California.

Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Wilson's Phalaropes bathing and preening after a bout of feeding at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope in winter (left) and summer (right) plumage
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Phalaropes spinning
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage (turning away)
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage (from behind)
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121129

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