Red-necked Phalarope on Flatey Island, Iceland

Red-necked Phalarope on Flatey Island, Iceland, where they are a common breeder everywhere on this small island. For such a pelagic shorebird, it's interesting to see them in grassy areas and on roadways. This is the first time I noticed their lobed toes and the webbing between. 3 July 2015 touring with Quest Nature Tours.


Webbing between lobed toes on Red-necked Phalarope is an adaptation that allow it to spend most of its life a sea. Red Phalarope also has webbing and lobed toes. However, the more terrestrial Wilson's Phalarope has flanged toes and swims less frequently. It winters near shallower lakes and pools, and not at sea like the other two phalaropes..


This photo shows the fleshy flaps around their toes. Except when in the Northern Hemisphere to breed, North American Red-necked Phalaropes and possibly Icelandic birds also, spend most of their lives in the southern oceans off  the Pacific coast of South America. Recent research shows that a Scottish Red-necked Phalarope wintered in the Pacific Ocean off Peru. Webbing and lobed toes enable this bird to swim. Lobed toes provide thrust while swimming. Flatey Island, Iceland 3 July 2015.


See more about Iceland: Quest Nature Tours 2015 trip to Iceland