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Steganopus tricolor (Wilson's phalarope) 

[= Phalaropus tricolor

Bontfraiingpoot [Afrikaans]; Grote franjepoot [Dutch]; Phalarope de Wilson [French]; Wilsons wassertreter, Amerikanisches odinshühnchen [German]; Falaropo de Wilson [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Scolopacidae

Steganopus tricolor (Wilson's phalarope) 

Wilson's phalarope female in breeding plumage, Dolphin Beach Pan, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds in southern Canada and northern USA in the area from 65-30° North, heading south to South America in the non-breeding season to South America, while it is a rare vagrant to Europe, Australasia and Africa, including southern Africa. Here it has been recorded about seven times at the coast of central Namibia, the South-Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, mainly occurring on salt pans.


It mainly eats invertebrates, foraging both in the water and on land, lunging side to side with its bill to catch prey.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.