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Red-necked Phalarope - BirdForum Opus

Adult Male – Breedng Plumage
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Half Moon Bay, California, USA, 9 May 2021
Phalaropus lobatus


Female – Breeding Plumage
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Half Moon Bay, California, USA, 9 May 2021

18-19 cm (7-7½ in)

  • Dark grey to black bill
  • Blue-grey legs
  • Lobed feet
  • Needle-like bill

Winter Grey above with wing bar and most of head and underparts white.
Summer Head grey-brown with white chin and face patch. Orange patch on side of neck and throat. Male duller than female
Juvenile Similar to winter adult but browner upperparts. Buff neck and breast.

In flight bold white wing bar, reminiscent of Sanderling, and long white rump coverts.

Moult information[5]


Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, 25 August 2020

Breeds in arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. Iceland and very locally in northern and western islands of Scotland and NW Ireland.


Immature – 2nd Year
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Half Moon Bay, California, USA, 9 May 2021

This is a monotypic species[1].


Open waters and marshy areas.


A rather confiding bird, showing little fear of humans.


Photo © by Pauhana
Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida, 4 September 2017

The females pursue males, compete for nesting territory, and will defend their nests and chosen mates. Once the females lay their eggs, they begin their southward migration, leaving the males to incubate the eggs and look after the young. 3-7 eggs are laid in a ground nest near a marshy area. The young mainly feed themselves and are able to fly within 20 days of birth.


Seen on migration
Photo © by bhowdy
Kingston, Tennessee, United States, August 2008

Diet includes small insects or crustaceans.


Flight outline 'tubby'. Swims with tail held up. 'Spins' on water.


Call: "twit" and "tirric, tirric". A funny grunting noise prior to flight.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  4. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  5. Discussion thread on the Moulting of Red-necked Phalopes

Recommended Citation

External Links

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