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Wilson's Phalarope

Scientific Name:

Phalaropus tricolor; also Steganopus tricolor




Areas with water of varying salinity levels, whether it is a shore, a mountain forest, a desert lake, or a grassland area


Southern tip and far western parts of South America, through Central America, and throughout the western parts of North America into northern Canada, depending on the season


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Wilson’s Phalaropes have stilt like legs, and longer, black, thin, straight beaks. These birds are peach and gray with females having more color than males. They may be observed spinning in the water which creates a vortex through which they find small invertebrates to eat. Wilson’s Phalaropes have also been known to stand still in order to catch insects that fly by them. Wilson’s Phalaropes travel in very large flocks as they migrate from South America to North America and back again.

Fast Facts:

  • Wilson's Phalaropes are considered shorebirds.

  • Wilson’s Phalaropes males tend to the young who leave the nest within a few days of being hatched. 

  • While migrating, Wilson’s Phalaropes double their weight while resting on the salt water lakes on their routes.

  • Wilson’s Phalaropes egg clutches almost always contain four eggs.

  • There have been sightings of them at Pyramid Lake.



Caron Tayloe (research & content)

Rachel Carroll (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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