Seen mainly on rocky or stony coasts. Turns over pebbles and seaweed while searching for food. Medium-sized wader, stocky and plump, with a short, pointed, conical-shaped black bill, and short orange legs. The complicated patterning of dark brown to black and white is distinctive in flight.
Breeding adults are unmistakeable. Their colouration, black and white on the head and underparts and red-brown and blackish on the upperparts, distinguishes them from other waders.
Adult non-breeding: the dark pectoral pattern, with a pale centre on the chest, is also distinctive. The upperparts are dark, the underparts are white.
Juveniles: juveniles have the same colouration as non-breeding adults with the upperparts finely scaled.
Call: short “kwut”.
L. 21-24 cm ; W. 43-49 cm.
Similar species: Sandpipers (Calidris spp.).
Like the Grey Phalarope, pelagic in winter, and often seen swimming. A little smaller and slimmer than the related species with a very fine black bill. In flight, wingbar narrower.
The breeding adult is unmistakeable.
In non-breeding plumage, it is lead-grey on the upperparts, with a fairly well-defined white “V” on the mantle. The grey coverts are broadly edged with white. The dark on the top of the head is restricted to the rear crown. The juvenile has dark upperparts and shows a distinct broad orangeish “V” on the mantle. The neck and the sides of the chest are tinged with pinkish-grey (pale orange in the Grey Phalarope).
Call: short nasal “tchep”.
L. 17-19 cm ; W. 30-34 cm.
Similar species: Grey Phalarope.
Essentially pelagic outside the breeding season.
Most often seen swimming.
Small wader, size of a Dunlin with a fairly thick black bill with a yellowish base, which looks flattened when seen head-on. A fairly broad and conspicuous wingbar can be seen in flight.
In breeding plumage, unmistakeable.
The non-breeding adult is almost uniform pale blue-grey on the upperparts. The forecrown is white, and the sides and rear of the crown are black. The juvenile shows dark upperparts with the mantle finely streaked.
Call: loud, metallic “kitt”.
L. 20-22 cm ; W. 36-41 cm.
Similar species: Red-necked Phalarope.