Phalaropus tricolor
Wilson's phalarope

Key Characteristics

Phalaropes are unique in that the females have the vibrant plumage, while the males are much drabber and are the only parent to incubate the eggs. Female Wilson's phalaropes are distinguished by a dark stripe on each side of the neck from the needlelike bill to the shoulders, a white throat, and buffy breast. They are active or nervous feeders and may spin while walking or swimming in shallow water to stir up invertebrates that they pick from the water.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Monroe11981
Distribution map for Phalaropus tricolor

Updated 1/31/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Wilson's phalaropes frequently inhabit shallow ponds and marshes where they feed just as commonly in the water as they do on surrounding grassy areas.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management

Maintain shallow ponds and marshy areas with abundant invertebrates and nearby wet grassy fields. Preservation of existing wetlands and restoration of those drained for agriculture or development should benefit the phalarope population. Water level management should be closely monitored in impoundments because even slight increases during the nesting season may flood nests before the precocial chicks hatch.

Active Period

Migration from fourth week of April to first week of May

Nesting from first week of May to fourth week of June

Migration from fourth week of July to fourth week of September

Survey Methods

Scanning suitable habitat for courting or foraging phalaropes is the best survey method. Conducting surveys from a canoe may increase detection by allowing access to areas of the marshes not visible from upland areas. Detection may be further improved by using call playback to elicit responses from territorial birds.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Jun 23, 2017]

References

Survey References

Technical References

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