Of the three phalaropes, the two primarily pelagic species are the hardest to separate as well as the most difficult to find in Alabama. These two, the Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) and the Red-necked (formerly Northern) Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), are frequently likened in non-breeding plumage to “sanderlings at sea” because of their size, light color, prominent white wings tripes, and white-sided dark rumps. They are, however, longer-tailed than Sanderlings (Calidris alba) and have the characteristic dark “phalarope-mark” through the eye; you would also never find Sanderlings swimming and spinning in the water in the manner of phalaropes. The Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) is more common in the State and non-breeders look like small yellowlegs with their dark wings and white rumps, marks which easily separate them from the Red and Red-necked Phalaropes.
Author: Greg D. Jackson
Volume Number: 31 Year Published: 1984
Issue Number: 3-4
Page Number: 6
Link to article: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/1984/Vol 31 No. 3, 4_1984_p6-10.pdf
Link to the full issue of BirdLife: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/1984/Vol 31 No. 3, 4_1984.pdf