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a genus of birds of the family Charadriidae of the suborder Charadriiformes. The body is 16 to 20 cm long, and the toes have rounded lobes for swimming. In the summer the female is more brightly colored than the male. Of the three species, two—the northern phalarope (P. lobatus) and the red phalarope (P. fulicarius) —are distributed in polar regions, including parts of the USSR, in the tundra and forest tundra. The birds winter in tropical seas near the coast. They build their nests on the ground, with a clutch containing three or four eggs. The male incubates the eggs for about 20 days. Phalaropes feed on small invertebrates, found mainly in the water. The third species —Wilson’s phalarope (P. tricolor)—lives on the prairies of North America.