Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version


Document Type



"Notes," from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1988) 56(1).


Copyright 1988, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


RED PHALAROPE. On 29 September 1985 Mark A. and Ed M. Brogie reported the occurrence of a Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicaria) at Willow Creek Recreation Area, Pierce Co., Neb. This bird was the first recorded sighting for the county and the second documented record for Nebraska ( NEB 52:72-73). On 26 September 1987 the authors observed and photographed a Red Phalarope along the beach near the group camping area on the south side of Willow Creek Recreation Area. The bird was quite unwary, and at one instance we were able to approach it within two yards distance as the bird swam and foraged near the water's edge.

The bird was intermediate between immature and fall plumage. as the neck, breast, and crown were brownish buff, while tile upper wing feathers were quite gray. A brownish-black eye stripe, starting just in front of the eye, ran horizontally through the orbit to the rear of the cheek. The forehead, throat, lower face, and underparts were whitish in color, while the bird's upper back and primaries were a mottled brown. In flight the white wing stripes were clearly evident.

The bill was dark and noticeably heavier in appearance than that of a Red-necked Phalarope - a species seen in the same location two days prior. When first found, the Phalarope was actively foraging among the plants on the water's edge and continued to do so throughout our presence. At times it would get up and fly to another feeding area, although the distances covered by these flights were never more than 20 yards. We watched the bird for approximately 45 minutes and when we left around 6:00 PM it was still busily feeding.