English and Scientific names:

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

Number of individuals: 

2 juveniles molting into first basic

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Plaquemines Parish

Specific Locality:

over blue water at Mississippi Canyon, ca. 34 mi. (28 nm) SW of Southwest Pass

Lat-Long. 28 32 12.0 89 47 09.9

Date(s) when observed:

27 September 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~1:45 2:00 PM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Lancaster, PA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

David Muth, Phillip Wallace, Dan Purrington, Dave Patton, Edward Raynor, Erik Johnson, m.ob.

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Partly cloudy sky with optimal midday sunlight. Sun angle high and backlighting not a factor.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Canon Powershot SD 1100 IS digital camera (all equipment in excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

within ca. 10-15 meters

Duration of observation:

~15+ min.


Open, blue water Gulf of Mexico. Floating Sargassum abundant. Water depth ~1,500 ft.

Behavior of bird: 

The phalaropes were observed foraging, at rest, and in flight. They were actively foraging together in a large mat of Sargassum right off the bow of the boat. They were quite vocal while foraging, giving their sharp kit calls. The birds flew several times but never far. Very cooperative.


A medium-sized, energetic, mostly black-and-white shorebird. Dark, mottled upperparts with patchy gray (basic) mantle and scapular feathers coming in. Retained dark juvenal tertials with buffy stripes contrasting with new gray feathers. Strikingly white underparts. Blackish crown and eye patch on otherwise pale head. White wing stripe and dark central tail coverts visible in flight. Relatively thin, all black bill. Dark irides. Grayish legs.


High, sharp kit given repeatedly.

Similar species:

Similar to Red Phalarope (REPH) in basic plumage. Juvenile Red-necked Phalarope (RNPH) is more mottled and streaked on upperparts than REPH. RNPH has a thinner, entirely black bill whereas REPH shows a shorter, thicker bill with a pale base. RNPH is more delicate in size and structure.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, digibined photos by Devin Bosler. Yes, attached.

Previous experience with this species: 

Very familiar with this species from seeing many off the East and West coast. Observed off DE, MD, MA, NC, and WA. Plus a few inland sightings from PA.

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005).

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, positive.

Date and time: 

Devin Bosler

6 October 2009

9:00 PM EDT