In this image, you see five Wilson’s Phalaropes. Four of them are females. Normally in the bird world, the male plumage is much more flashy than the females. In Wilson’s Phalaropes, the females wear the fancy feathers and the males are more bland. Notice the female in the upper left of the image who is splashing, the top of her head is gray. Also, compare the 4 females and see that each has a jet black band of feathers that begin at the back of the eye and run down the sides of the neck. The ladies also have various amounts of cinnamon color on the sides and fronts of their necks. These wading birds are standing in water that is about hip deep.
In the middle of the group, is the male. He lacks the black neck stripe and the cinnamon on the neck. Much less flashy than the girls.
In this image, you can see a female coming in for a landing. Notice the base of her tail and most of her tail feathers are white. This is another useful field mark. Also, you can see part of her long legs and her webbed feet. Can you see the white stripe down the back of her neck? This is also a useful field character.
I like watching these birds in flight, they are fast and they make sharp turns as a flock which is like an aerial ballet. Can you identify these as Wilson’s Phalarope? How many males do you see?