The red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) is a gorgeous little wading bird. Its Icelandic name is “óðinshani”, which means “Odin’s rooster”. I have had a special regard for these little birds ever since I was about 12 and caught one which allowed me to handle it and pet it with no signs of fear (it didn’t seem to be sick either, just fearless).

Interestingly, for this species (and indeed all phalaropes), it is the female that is larger and more colourful and defends the territory and attracts mates, while the smaller, less colourful males are in charge of incubating the eggs and rearing the chicks.

I found three pairs swimming around in a small pond in Kálfshamarsvík in northern Iceland and was able to approach them closely enough to get decent photos, even with the relatively short-range lens I had on the camera.

Click the images to enlarge.

Female red-necked phalarope  (Phalaropus lobatus)

Female red-necked phalarope.

Male red-necked phalarope  (Phalaropus lobatus)

Male red-necked phalarope.


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