Red Phalarope at Bronte Harbour, near Toronto

This Red Phalarope in first winter plumage was close to shore at Bronte Harbour on 21 November 2015. Everyone got great views and was able to study its plumage. First winter is the age class most often seen in late fall in Ontario. Red Phalaropes migrate from the Arctic to the Pacific Ocean to overwinter at sea. They are highly pelagic and have specially adapted feet with lobed toes and webbing between.


Please click link for Video of first winter Red Phalarope feeding by picking off the surface of the water while swimming


It is distinguished from adult winter plumage by its dark tertials with pale edges that contrast with the grey back. In adults the tertials are the same grey colour as the back. In this photo, one tertial shows a buffy fringe, which is retained from the juvenile plumage. Most of the buffy/rusty fringes fade quickly to white, 21 November 2015.


Note the bill has a yellow/orange spot at the base of bill, which often occurs in this age class. 21 November 2015