Red-necked phalarope

Sept. 18, 2023

Recently, a group of birders who visited Kurichi Tank in Coimbatore spotted a Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus).

About the red-necked phalarope:

  • It is a fairly small shorebird known for spinning frantically on water to stir up small invertebrates.
  • It has a circumpolar distribution and is found in both boreal and tundra zones between 60 and 70 degrees latitude.
  • These phalaropes can be found in coastal regions of the Arctic Ocean, south to the Aleutians and Northwest to Britain.
  • In the winter, it spends most of its time on the ocean.
  • During this non-breeding season, phalaropes can be found off central-west South America, in the Arabian Sea and from central Indonesia to western Melanesia.
  • Appearance and behaviour:
    • The bird mainly feeds on small aquatic invertebrates and plankton.
    • It exhibits a typical feeding behaviour of spinning on the surface of the water.
    • This rapid circling is believed to bring the prey to its feeding range.
    • Unlike in other species, female Red-necked phalaropes are brighter than males.
    • During the breeding period, the species have chestnut-red plumage from behind the ear to the downsides of the neck.
    • Females are observed to be polyandrous, that is, mating with more than one male.
    • The males brood chicks and feed them.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Least concern