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Phalaropus lobatus

Red-necked Phalarope

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae

Authors: Contreras-González, A.M., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González & M.C. Arizmendi

Life History


It feeds on aquatic invertebrates, beetles, ants, worms, snails, plankton, zooplankton, fish, amphibian larvae, crustaceans and sometimes seeds.


Forages in groups seeking aquatic invertebrates in lakes. Consume plankton from surface with fast-movements while float. When swimming, makes small and fast circles, creating an updraft that brings food from the bottom to the surface. Also quickly suck into the mud to catch their food. Remains near whales or other animals that drag the plankton to the surface.


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Sexual Behavior

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Social and interspecific behavior

They are solitary birds, but they feed and migrate in groups. Rest floating in the water.


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It nests in sparse colonies or in solitary. The female copulate with several males, and although is not territorial, defend their nests. Both parents build the nest, but the male is responsible for incubating the eggs and care for the chicks. Eggs are laid in intervals of 24 to 30 hours. Females leave the breeding site, before the males and juveniles.

The breeding season begins in early May and ends in August. It has a single brood per year. They breed in grasslands and swamps with open water bodies, and also on islands in rivers, or occasionally on islands offshore. The nest is placed on ground in grassland near water; is a deep cavity lined with dry grass, and covered with grass on top. Puts 3 to 4 eggs, oval, smooth, slightly shiny, silvery to pale buff, often with many black-brown and brownish-purple marks, measuring 30 x 21 mm, eggs laid at intervals of 1 to 2 days. Incubation lasts 18 to 20 days. The chicks are precocious and are born covered with buff down above and white below, with patterns of lines and points on the body, the bill is dark gray and the legs pale gray. The chicks are independent at 18 to 22 days old.

Populations and Demography

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Recommended Citation

Contreras-González, A.M., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González & M.C. Arizmendi. 2010. Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: