Red Phalarope  Phalaropus fulicarius


  • Phalaropus : Greek word phalaris –coot; pous – foot   {Coot footed}
  • fulicarius : Latin word fulica- coot

Vernacular Names: Guj: Chanchal, Laldok chanchal, Ta: Neer moozhki, Mar: Lal Manecha falarop

Distribution in India: Vagrant in India.

Description: Size of 20-22 cm; wt. of 37-77 g; wingspan of 37-40 cm. It is large and chunky with broader, heavier and mainly yellow bill. The female is mainly chestnut-red with blackish-brown crown and fore face. It has a grey central nape, white at sides of face. The upperparts are blackish brown with cinnamon and buff fringes. The male is duller with streaked crown and mantle. The white on face is less pure and has duller underparts often mixed with white. The non-breeding adult is pale blue-grey above and white below. It has a dark crown-patch and, black eye-patch. The juvenile has upperparts like breeding male and head pattern as non-breeding adult, but browner with pink-buff on face, neck and sides of breast and white belly. It is most pelagic of phalaropes.

Habitat: It breeds near coast, on marshy tundra with small pools, boggy meadows with moss and grass, marshy river valleys or islets in fjords and sometimes over standing water. It shares breeding habitat with Red-necked Phalarope. Outside breeding season pelagic, in tropical and subtropical upwelling zones where plankton occurs at high concentrations. It is regularly seen ashore during gales.

Food habits : During breeding season it eats invertebrates, including insects and their larvae, like dipteran flies, caddisflies, beetles and bugs, also molluscs, crustaceans, annelids, spiders and mites, and occasionally plant material, mainly seeds, especially when food is limited.  Feeds in or around small pools or lagoons and on Fucus seaweed washed ashore. It forages by swimming, wading and walking, and typically spins around fast, pecking at or just below water surface, up to 57 rpm, usually only in very shallow water and especially on breeding grounds;. It quickly lunges forward at prey, or upends, tilting body forward and immersing bill only or part of head, or seizing flying insects. In non-breeding season feeds at sea on plankton, including amphipods, Hydrozoa and small fish, from water surface or just below, using its exceptionally broad bill.

Breeding habits: They breed in Jun to July in Iceland, Russia, and in May at southernmost North America. They are monogamous, but, when there is excess of males the females become polyandrous, and start second clutch several hundred meters from first .The female usually leaves the male after clutch is completed. They Nest in short vegetation, usually close to or surrounded by water. The nest is shallow scrape which male lines with plant material. They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs, laid at 24–26 hour intervals. The incubation period is 17–26 days. The incubation is done by male, starting once clutch complete. The chicks are tended by male. The fledging period is 16–20 days. Soon after fledging, the young move to larger lakes in large flocks.