Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
Male and female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image

Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland
May 2004

The Red-necked Phalarope breeds around the Arctic Circle in Eurasia and North America. Most British breeders are found on Shetland and specifically the island of Fetlar where there are about 20 breeding pairs.

Female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image In winter they spend all their time at sea in 3 areas: off the Arabian Peninsula; around Indonesia and the Philippines; and off the Pacific coast of Peru.

Unlike most birds, it is the female Red-necked Phalarope which has the brighter plumage and this is because of the role reversal whereby it is the female that displays and the male that incubates the eggs and looks after the chicks.

Female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image The first photo shows a female on the right and a duller male on the left. All other photos are of a female except the last two where one male (with a yellow ring on its leg) appears to be chasing two females.

Sometimes a female can mate with more than one male but I'm not sure what one male is doing with 2 females!

Female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image Studies of the habitat requirements show that the Red-necked Phalarope likes a combination of open water, such as the Loch of Funzie on Fetlar, with emergent vegetation for feeding and marsh for nesting.

Food at the breeding grounds consists of flies and caddisflies which are picked of vegetation, stones and the surface of the water as can be seen in photos 2 and 3.

Male with 2 Female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Male with 2Female Red-necked Phalarope, Fetlar, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
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