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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Wilson's Phalarope



Awaiting image for this species



Wilson's Phalarope

Phalaropus tricolor


  • Wilson's Phalarope
  • Phalaropus tricolor
  • UK: Accidental 4 records a year BTO
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC. Not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist
  • Breeds: Prairies. Canada, North America
  • Winters: South America , Andes
  • Habitat: Marsh & wet meadow (migration lakes, mudflats)
  • Diet: Mostly small aquatic invertebrates
  • Largest Phalarope. 23cm, 9.1 inches length. Straight fine black bill. Lobed toes.
    Breeding female mostly grey & brown above. White below. Neck reddish. Also reddish flank patches.
    Breeding male similar but much duller colouring with brown back.( Reddish flank patches often absent on male). Juveniles grey & brown above. Whitish below. Dark patch through the eye.
    Winter plumage mostly grey above & white below, with dark eyepatch
  • Similar birds: Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope


Phalarope do not make typical monogamous pairings. The females are the most brightly coloured, they sing and court the males, and also fight each other for the attentions of the males.

The males incubate the eggs and feed the young whilst the females take on a second partner...

Phalarope feed by swirling up freshwater bottom sediments and eating the insects etc that rise up. The process by which they swirl the water makes them spin around.

Almost all the wintering is in done at sea.



Wilson's Phalarope records in the Western Isles

Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC

(Not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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