[Three Wilson’s phalaropes are in shallow water. They forage by swimming in small circles.] [Explore MacaulayLibrary.org]

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At first glance it may appear that these phalaropes are performing some kind of dance, but they are actually foraging for food. By swimming in small circles the phalaropes create a mini whirlpool that sucks food, primarily aquatic invertebrates, off the bottom of bodies of water, lifting it to the surface where they can feed.

This video accompanies Chapter 8, Avian Food and Foraging, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Timothy Barksdale, Macaulay Library