Wilson’s Phalaropes make an appearance on July 18, 2014

A Visit to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on July 18, 2014 around 4:30 produced a pair of Wilson’s Phalaropes (male and female) that were seen at Pond C.  Harsh lighting and similar red-necked phalarope plumage  made it a bit difficult for a positive ID initially.  After a closeup photo review afterward we had determined by their needle nose bill these were in fact Wilson’s Phalarope’s.

Of note, unlike the majority of other bird species here in the U.S., the Phalaropes and the Kingfishers are the only species where the females boast a more colorful plumage than the males.  Phalaropes offer a display of nervous, erratic like movements along with a spinning technique in the water to stir up food to the surface.  They also can be found performing a constant darting and jabbing motion while seeking food sources within their environments.

These photos were taken at the tail end of their typical mating season (quoted as per Sibley’s Guide to Birds) from April-July in breeding plumage.

Wilson's Phalarope (male-breeding) (17746)
A male Wilson’s Phalarope
Wilson's Phalarope (female-breeding) 17742)
A female Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson's Phalaropes - A Female (left) and Male (right) breeding (17736)A female (left) and male (right) Wilson’s Phalarope

One Response

  1. James Pike

    I’m currently researching the sexing of phalaropes and ran across your pics. I’d say it’s tricky to sex phalaropes in midsummer, given the mix of faded alternate and fresh basic plumage. Too much guesswork, in my opinion.

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