Red-Necked Phalarope

Scientific name: Phalaropus lobatus

Did you know: The Red-Necked Phalarope, a small and delicate wader, has reversed gender roles, with the duller-coloured male taking on the responsibility of egg and chick care!

What Do Red-Necked Phalaropes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Red-Necked Phalaropes are unique among waders for their lobed toes, enabling strong swimming. They exhibit a distinct winter plumage, with a thicker neck and dark bill with a yellow base, and in summer, they showcase a red neck and breast. 

Their brown body, black crown, and whitish cheeks add to their distinctive appearance.

Differences Between Male And Female Red-Necked Phalaropes

The breeding female is more vibrant, with a chestnut neck, upper breast, and black face. The male, responsible for nurturing the young, is a duller version of the female, with less pronounced colours.

What Do Red-Necked Phalaropes Eat?

Their diet mainly consists of insects. Unique in their feeding, they create small whirlpools in water to bring up food, making them efficient foragers.

Where Do Red-Necked Phalaropes Live? (inc. migration info)

Red-Necked Phalaropes breed in the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. They migrate to tropical oceans for winter, exhibiting unusual behaviour for a wader. 

In the UK, they’re a rare breeding species and are given special protection.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Red-Necked Phalaropes)

Their calls are sharp, described as a ‘whit’ or ‘twit,’ distinctive to their species. Their vocalisations are a key aspect of their elaborate courtship rituals.

Fun Red-Necked Phalarope Facts (kid friendly)

  • They spin in water to create whirlpools, bringing insects to the surface for feeding.
  • Males take the lead in nurturing eggs and young – a unique reversal of typical bird roles.
  • They’re adapted to spend most of their time on water but can also scurry on land.
  • In the UK, they’re a rare and protected breeding species, making sightings special.
  • They’re migratory, spending winters in tropical oceans – a rarity for waders.
  • The female Red-Necked Phalarope is more brightly coloured than the male.
  • They breed in the Arctic regions but are also seen along the UK coasts in winter.
  • In breeding season, their neck turns a striking red.
  • They use their lobed toes to swim effectively.
  • Red-Necked Phalaropes can be unusually tame around humans due to limited contact.

Red-Necked Phalarope Images

image coming soon Submit Image
Male
image coming soon Submit Image
Female
image coming soon Submit Image
Hatchling
image coming soon Submit Image
Nestling
image coming soon Submit Image
Chick
image coming soon Submit Image
Fledgling
image coming soon Submit Image
Juvenile

Facts About The Red-Necked Phalarope

Diet: Mainly insects.
Bird Family: Sandpipers, snipes and phalaropes
Length: 17-19cm
Wingspan: 32-41cm
Weight: 27-48g
Scientific Name: Phalaropus lobatus

The Red-Necked Phalarope Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September