Tag Archives: Phalaropus fulicarius

The high Arctic Red Phalarope

Þórshani – Red Phalarope / Grey Phalarope – Phalaropus fulicarius

In the last week of May a group of Red Phalaropes were spotted by the southwest coast of Iceland. Sightings of this high Arctic bird are annual by the sea in Iceland but breeding is rare.

Red Phalarope – female

The Red Phalarope is common all around the Arctic where it breeds. It winters at sea in the tropical zone, mostly by the coasts of South America and Africa.  In winter the Red phalarope changes colour and becomes grey and is called Grey phalarope.

Red Phalarope – male

In the end of May Red Phalaropes could be seen by the harbour at Eyrarbakki looking for feed.  They were quite tame and probably  not used to the company of men.


Red Phalaropes blown off course

Þórshani – Red Phalarope – Phalaropus fulicarius

After some strong Southwest winds in the last few days a selection of vagrants have been spotted in Iceland. One of these is the Red Phalarope which can now be seen in many places in Southwest Iceland.

The Red Phalarope breeds in the North, all around the Arctic circle. A few also breed in Iceland. The groups of Red Phalaropes here now are probably coming from their summer grounds in Greenland. They have been blown off course because of the southwesterly winds. Most of these visitors are probably on their way to winter grounds in the Pacific regions South America.

A group of young Red Phalaropes has been on the shore near Eyrarbakki in the last few days.