Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Phalaropes are small swimming 'sandpipers'. They differ from sandpipers by having partially lobed toes. Within the phalaropes, the role of the sexes are reversed. The females are larger and more brightly colored than the males. During nesting, the female initiates courtship rituals but the male builds the nest and incubates the eggs. When feeding, phalaropes will often spin in circles to stir up insects. Three species comprise this family: Wilson's phalarope, red-necked phalarope, and red phalarope. Only the Wilson's phalarope breeds in North Dakota while the other two may be observed during seasonal migrations.