Black-winged Stilt

The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a species of bird in the avocet family, Recurvirostridae. This species is widely distributed. Its preferred breeding habitat is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter. Birds in the warmer regions are mostly resident. Hawaiian populations are endangered due to habitat loss and possibly from introduced predators. The Black-winged Stilt is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

Adults are 13 to 14 inches long. They have long pink legs and a long thin black bill. They are black above and white below. They have a white head and neck with some black. The males’ backs are black sometimes with a greenish gloss. Females have a mostly brown hue. Females tend to have less black on the head and neck throughout the year. The young are gray and have a marked sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes.

The diet of the Black-winged Stilt consists mainly of insects and crustaceans. It picks up its food from the sand or water. The nest site is a bare spot on the ground, usually near water. These birds often nest in small groups, and sometimes with avocets.

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