Bird of the Week – Red Phalarope


WC will say at the top these are poor-quality photos. Taken in 2002, WC’s camera then was something called an Olympus C2500L, which was a state of the art camera in its day, But the state of the art was pretty primitive compared to today’s digital cameras. WC’s skills left a lot to be desired, too.

But a couple of years ago when WC was featuring Phalaropes, this species got overlooked.

Red Phalarope, Barrow, Alaska

Red Phalarope, Barrow, Alaska

The Red Phalarope is the most pelagic of the three phalarope species, spending up to 11 months each year in marine habitats. Its migratory routes and winter areas are entirely pelagic, in contrast to those of Red-necked  and Wilson’s phalaropes, and it generally feeds on smaller invertebrate prey items than the others.

Red Phalarope, Barrow, Alaska

Red Phalarope, Barrow, Alaska

Migrants in Alaska feed on crustaceans in mud plumes created by benthic-foraging gray and bowhead whales. Which is why European whalers to called Red Phalaropes “bowhead birds” and used flocks to locate whales.

Like other phalaropes, Red Phalaropes have reversed sexual dimorphism, with females larger and more brightly plumaged than males. The species breeds widely across the Arctic.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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