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Conservation status: Red

These small, delicate waders are adapted well to spending a lot of time on water. Unlike other waders, phalaropes have lobed toes which enable them to swim strongly when on pools or out at sea. They spend most of their time in the water but can equally run about on land. The duller coloured male looks after the eggs and young after laying. As a rare UK breeding species it is a Red List bird.



Latin name

Phalaropus lobatus


Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Small numbers breed on the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland. Birds are also seen on passage in the autumn, usually along the east coast.

When to see them

They arrive back at their breeding grounds in May. Females start to leave in June, with males and young departing in July and August. Best looked for on passage in August and September.

What they eat

Mainly insects


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-20-24 males-30 birds




Dougie Preston, Xeno-canto

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