Friday, 19 October 2012

Birds in Focus - Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope in flight (RSPB)
The Grey Phalarope is an Arctic-breeding wader sometimes comes to the coasts of the UK after storms. They are most often seen at the coast; around 200 birds per year are seen. Like the other phalarope species, the female is the more colourful and leaves the male to incubate the eggs and bring up the young. In North America, these birds are known as Red Phalaropes, due to the birds' orangey-red breeding plumage.

Grey Phalarope (RSPB)
Grey Phalaropes spend a large proportion of their lives out at sea, many miles from land. Birds that turn up in the UK - largely around the coast but occasionally at wetlands inland - have been blown off-course by bad weather and strong winds.  They are most often seen between October and January.

In winter, the Grey Phalarope eats marine plankton picked from the sea's surface. On breeding grounds, they eat small insects and aquatic creatures.

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