The red-necked phalarope is a small wading bird that breeds in the northern areas of America and Europe. Ireland is on the extreme edge of the breeding range but it has previously bred in Ireland. The maximum recorded number of breeding pairs (in about 1900) was 50. Most of the time it is a rare summer visitor from May to October. It migrates south and winters at sea on tropical oceans.
Unusually for a bird species, the females are larger and more brightly coloured than the males. The females pursue and fight over males and will defend their mate from other females. The males perform all incubation and chick-rearing. The red-necked phalarope makes a nest in a grass-lined dip in the top of a small mound.
It feeds on small insects or crustaceans.
The red-necked phalarope is red-listed in Ireland due to its very small breeding population.
Image (c) by David Menke (public domain)