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Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Distribution and population
The Red-necked Phalarope breeds in the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. It is migratory, wintering pelagically off central-western South America, in the Arabian Sea, and from central Indonesia to western Melanesia (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.3,600,000-4,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population sizes have been estimated at c.50-10,000 individuals on migration in China; > c.1,000 individuals on migration in Taiwan; > c.1,000 individuals on migration in Korea; > c.1,000 individuals on migration in Japan and c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs and > c.10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory and travels over land on both broad and narrow fronts (del Hoyo et al. 1996) using favoured lakes as staging points on route (Hayman et al. 1986). It breeds from late-May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs, occasionally forming loose colonies where suitable habitat is restricted (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species leaves the breeding grounds between late-June and early-September (Hayman et al. 1986), migrating in gregarious flocks and wintering at sea in flocks of 20-100 (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the Arctic on coastal and inland tundra, forest tundra and alpine tundra near lakes, pools (del Hoyo et al. 1996), ponds, lagoons, streams or other permanent water-bodies (Johnsgard 1981) with marshy margins overgrown with grass, sedge or moss (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) in freshwater marshes and bogs (Hayman et al. 1986). It may also frequent coastal moorland, flood-plains and islets in large rivers, and in Iceland it commonly nests on sparsely vegetated lava deserts (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On passage the species frequents inland saline and hypersaline lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) as well as reservoirs, sewage-ponds and coastal marshes (Hayman et al. 1986). During the winter it is largely pelagic however, foraging at sea in upwelling zones and marine areas with a high abundance of plankton (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding In its breeding range its diet consists of insects (especially adult and larval Diptera, beetles, caddisflies, ants and Hemiptera) and other small invertebrates (e.g. snails, crustaceans and annelid worms) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), larval amphibians (tadpoles) (Johnsgard 1981) and seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On passage the species may take larval brine-flies (Ephydra spp.) from saline lakes, but when feeding pelagically during the winter it feeds on zooplankton (e.g. euphausiids and calanoid copepods) and other floating planktonic particles (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape on bare ground or amongst sparse vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in sedge thickets or damp, grassy or hummocky areas close to water (Flint et al. 1984). Management information In the UK management regimes to benefit the species include increasing the area of open water in mires by digging small pools, controlling water-levels and providing tussocky vegetation suitable for nesting (through grazing by ponies and cattle) (O'Brien et al. 1997).

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Flint, V. E.; Boehme, R. L.; Kostin, Y. V.; Kuznetsov, A. A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

O'Brien, M.; Newbery, P.; Suddaby, D. 1997. Action for breeding red-necked phalaropes in Scotland. RSPB Conservation Review 11: 74-79.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Calvert, R., Butchart, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Phalaropus lobatus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 5,110,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment