Red–necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
The Red-necked Phalarope is a rare small wader and member of the Sandpiper family. In the UK they breed in small numbers estimated to be 24 – 30 pairs. Their breeding range here being the western and northern Isles. The most important UK breeding area being the Shetland Isles, particularly the Loch of Funzie on Fetlar. Also On the Western Isles, particularly at Loch na Muilne. Phalarope occasionally breed elsewhere in Scotland. They also bred at the RSPB Balranald reserve in North Uist, Scotland in 2015. This was the first time they had bred here for 31 years.
Outside the UK they breed mainly in Arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia.
Here they have a short breeding season arriving around May and leaving during July.
Unusual among birds it is the male bird that 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 bird being of similar but much duller colour. This makes it better suited to sitting on the nest.
The Red-necked Phalarope breeds in small ponds in arctic or subarctic tundra. The birds spends much time around the sea. As a result it can often be seen feeding on the shore.