Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

Red-necked Phalarope

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Phalaropus lobatus | [UK] Red-necked Phalarope | [FR] Phalarope a bec etroit | [DE] Odinshuhnchen | [ES] Falaropo Picofino | [NL] Grauwe Franjepoot


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Smallest Phalaropus, with needle like bill and slender neck, toes lobed.
Reversed sexual dimorphism. Female has slate grey head, neck and sides of breast with bright orange red horseshoe collar and white throat. Golden buff fringes on upperparts form lines on sides of mantle.
Male much duller, with browner head, neck and upperparts. White above eye often spreads out to form narrow supercilium.
Non-breeding adult has dull blue grey upperparts with white fringes. Head mainly white with black patch through and behind eye. Underparts white with faint streaks on lower flanks.

Listen to the sound of Red-necked Phalarope

[audio: Phalarope.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 31 cm wingspan max.: 34 cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 19 cm
incubation min.: 17 days incubation max.: 21 days
fledging min.: 18 days fledging max.: 21 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America, Eurasia : North


Arctic. Tundra, forst tundra and Scandinavian alpine tundra, near lakes and pools with marshy margins, often overgrown with grass, sedges and moss.
During migration, uses inland saline lakes. Winters at sea, in upwelling zones and ocean slicks with high availability of plankton.


Egg laying in June. pairs bond Monogamous, sometimes polyandrous. when males are in excess numbers, sex roles reversed. Breeds Solitary or loosely colonial where habitat is restricted. No territorial behavior and low degree of site fidelity and natal philopatry (where next generatin breeds on same grounds parents). Nest is built on bare ground or among sparse vegetation, close to water lined with leaves and stems. 3-4 eggs are laid, usually single brood, but in case of polyandry double brooded. Incubation lasts 17-21 days, by male only. Chick cinnamon buff to whitish with black bands, crown and eyestripe black and three black bands down back, underparts white, greyish and buff. Chicks tended by male only, female depart soon after hatching.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects, beetles, caddisflies, ants and bugs, also other small invertebrates, including snails, crustaceans and annelid worms and some seeds.
Forages by swimming, wading and walking. Pecks at prey at water surface, from vegetation or mud, rapidly lunges at prey just below water surface, upends, seizes flying insects, and often spins around in water.
At sea usually near whales and shoals of fish, where profits from high local plankton densities, and at floating seaweed.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Red-necked Phalarope status Least Concern


Migratory. Intermediate in character between Wilson?s Phalarope and Grey Phalarope, wintering pelagically but migrating extensively overland. Main winter concentrations off western South America, in Arabian Sea, and among East Indies; no regular wintering areas yet known in Atlantic Ocean; winter ranges of North Atlantic populations (Greenland, Iceland, Faeroes, Scotland) still problematical. Fenno-Scandian birds migrate south-east through Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland, and across eastern Europe on broad front to staging posts on Black and Caspian Seas; overland part of this movement probably largely in non-stop flight. Continues overland and enters Arabian Sea via Gulf of Oman, spreading west to Gulf of Aden by late October (but not entering Red Sea).

Distribution map

Red-necked Phalarope distribution range map

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