This post is for everyone who was at Riverlands on Saturday, 3 Nov., and
saw the phalarope, which Matt Rowe spotted and I identified as a Red-necked
Phalarope. In fact, the bird was a RED PHALAROPE, as shown by some of the
photographs obtained. The two most important points are these:

1) The bill was not the ultra-thin, needlelike bill of a Red-necked. This
is why field guides refer to it as "thick" -- because it's thick compared
to that of a Red-necked. I misjudged it.

2) Field guides also show Red Phalarope in basic (non-breeding) plumage as
having plain light gray upperparts, while Red-necked is dark with pale
narrow lines down the back. This bird actually did have some sizeable
patches of plain light gray coming in on the back (unlike any Red-necked),
but they were bordered all around by a good deal of dark feathering, with a
dark line crossing through them, creating an overall dark impression at a
distance. In other words, its molt to basic plumage was under way but

Both of these features are clearly visible in the closest photos, taken by
Jim Malone and viewable in his list: My thanks to Jim for allowing
me to post this link. Other differences from Red-necked are very subtle and
depend largely on a direct comparison between the two.

Red Phalarope is the rarest of the three phalaropes in Missouri; it is
casual in spring (6 records) and rare in fall (fewer than 20 records).
Documentation is still requested for all sightings. I believe this is only
the second record for Riverlands, the first having been found over 20 years
ago in early June by Charlene Malone. So, by typical birding criteria, this
is a "better" record than I thought.

Request of everyone who entered this bird in an eBird list as Red-necked
Phalarope: Please delete that entry and re-enter as Red Phalarope! Your
eBird reviewers will appreciate this. I apologize for the confusion and the
necessity to change an entry.

Bill Rowe

St. Louis

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