Fathers Day in the natural world

Fathers Day in the natural world


Posted 1st Jun 2018


On Sunday 17 June we celebrate Fathers Day in the UK. In the human world this might mean buying a card or a gift, and spending time with your dad

If animals were celebrating too, they might be thanking their fathers for some pretty extraordinary feats, including leaping off cliffs with them or even giving birth!

The seahorse must be one of the most devoted dads, even giving birth to his young. These fascinating fish raise their families in underwater meadows of seagrass. The female passes the eggs she’s produced to a pouch on the male’s body. Here, they’ll be fertilised and develop into tiny seahorses!


Image courtesy of Paul Naylor

One of our most unusual bird parents, which in the UK you’ll only find in the far north, is the red-necked phalarope. This is a tiny wading bird which is happier spinning around in the water, stirring up tasty aquatic morsels, than scuttling across mud like many of their cousins. What makes them extra special is the fact that it’s the father that raises the chicks! Unlike most of our other birds, male red-necked phalaropes are duller in colour than the females, meaning that they can stay better camouflaged when sitting on the nest.


Image courtesy of Chris Gomersall / RSPB Images

Guillemots are smart black and white seabirds which bring up their babies on tiny ledges of cliffs, crowded in amongst other families. When the time comes for the youngster (known as a ‘jumpling’) to leave the ledge, it’s the dad who encourages it down the rock face into the water. He’ll then stay with his chick until it’s learned to feed itself.


Image courtesy of Andy Hay / RSPB Images

You might be familiar with another fabulous feathered father: the long-tailed tit. In fact, you might sometimes see whole teams of long-tailed tit dads helping look after one nest of chicks! That’s because last year’s chicks, especially males, often stick around to help bring up the next generation.


Image courtesy of John Bridges / RSPB Images

Find out more about wildlife on the RSPB website: rspb.org.uk

Lead image courtesy of Andy Hay / RSPB Images 

Piece courtesy of Jamie Wyver





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