Red-necked phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

The red-necked phalarope is a rare small member of the Sandpiper family. They breed in small numbers in the UK being restricted to the western and northern isles of Scotland. There are estimated to be 24 – 30 pairs breeding in the UK. Red-necked Phalarope have a short breeding season arriving around May and leaving during July.


The Red-necked Phalarope breeds mainly in Arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia. They are very localised in the UK being found mainly in Scotland. The most important area being the Shetland Isles, particularly the Loch of Funzie on Fetlar. The Red-necked Phalarope also breeds on the Western Isles, particularly at Loch na Muilne and is occasionally found elsewhere in Scotland.
Unusual among birds it is the male Phalarope which raises the young. Females will usually be first to depart after breeding with males staying on with the young.
In keeping with this role reversal the Female is the brighter bird. The male Red-necked Phalarope being of similar but much duller colour.