The red-necked phalarope, one of Britain’s rarest birds is a record breaker. It achieved one of the world’s great migrations when it clocked up a remarkable 16,000 miles, in a round-trip from Shetland to Peru.
Phalarope images © wikimedia
By using a tiny tracking device weighing less than a paperclip and worn like a backpack the truly extraordinary journey was revealed. Is the longest recorded for a European breeding bird.
Malcolm Smith of the RSPB said:
“He went down the eastern seaboard of North America into the Caribbean, crossed into the Pacific where he wintered in the warm waters of Ecuador and Peru before returning back by more or less the same route.”
The Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) is a small wader. This phalarope breeds in the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. It is migratory, and, unusually for a wader, winters at sea on tropical oceans.
Red-necked Phalarope is about 18 cm (7 in) in length, with lobed toes and a straight, fine bill. The breeding female is predominantly dark grey above, with a chestnut neck and upper breast, black face and white throat.