Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Black- winged Stilt

Once again it is time for the Wednesday post and this week I am showing you another bird that was at Barra Fish Farm, Innisfail, Queensland.  It is the turn of the Black Winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus.
 It is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the Avocet and stilt family (Recurvirostridae). Opinions differ as to whether the birds treated under the scientific name H. himantopus ought to be treated as a single species and if not, how many species to recognise. The scientific name Himantopus comes from the Greek meaning "strap foot" or "thong foot.
Adults are 33–36 cm long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black.  

This little chick was only a couple of days old and one of its parents is the Black winged Stilt in second photograph. (taken 9 years old while birding with Alan Morris on the Central coast).
Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss.  Females' backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter.
Immature birds are grey instead of black and have a markedly sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight.

The breeding habitat of all these stilts is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter; those in warmer regions are generally resident or short-range vagrants. In Europe, the Black-winged Stilt is a regular spring overshoot vagrant north of its normal range, occasionally remaining to breed in northern European countries, for example in Britain in 1987. 
These birds pick up their food from sand or water.
They mainly eat insects and crustaceans.

Little Egret with Black winged Stilts
 B.W Stilts in flight.
 The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with Avocets usually between August and November.  Inland and further North, they can nest any month after substantial rain.  Clutch is 3- 4 eggs; both parents incubate for 22 -24 days.

The Hawaiian population is endangered due to habitat loss and probably also introduced predators. The IUCN recognises 3 species at present, merging the Hawaiian and South American birds with the Black-necked Stilt; consequently, none of the three is listed as a threatened species.
  he Black-winged Stilt is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

As next Wednesday is Christmas Day, I will not be posting an Australian post, indeed over the Christmas period, I probably will not post much if any as I will be spending time with my family.  So for those bloggers who only look at my post on Wednesdays, I wish you a very Happy Christmas.

I have a short video which can be accessed at

If there is a black space below,click it and the video will appear,

Thank you for visiting today and many thanks for all who left comments yesterday on any of my posts.

I amlinking this post to Wild Bird Wednesday


  1. Gorgeous fluffy little chick. Newly hatched birds frequently look like something that only a mother can love - but they morph into cuteness very, very fast.

  2. Great photos and they are very beautiful birds. Did you notice their very distinctive call? I think they sound like very young pups yipping?
    Have a happy Christmas!

  3. Oops! I should have looked and listened to your video first before mentioning the call of the Stilts - although there are so many other birds to listen to in your video.

  4. I love the stilts; they look pristine and elegant with their long skinny legs and the little chick is adorable

  5. Splendid birds - I hope to get some shots in the next few weeks - if I can stay awake!!

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes and for being a regular WBWer!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  6. The Stilts are beautiful birds! And I love the cute chick! Wonderful post, Margaret! Have a happy day!

  7. I love the Stilts Margaret, and interesting narration. I've seen Stilts in Lancashire, and also in Florida, they such a dainty wader.
    All the best Gordon.

  8. Wonderful post again. Thanks for sharing!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  9. Lovely birds Margaret.

    Is it that time already next week?

  10. Great photos of a new bird for me. Love that fluffy little chick.

  11. A very classy wader species, wonderful location as well.

  12. The stilts are amazing and boy do they make wonderful reflections with those legs!! And the baby chick. Wow. And avocets -- I am in heaven (and not just a little bit envious)! Thank you.

  13. Amazing to see all those BW Stilt Margaret. There use to be one at Titchwell Marsh Reserve on the North Norfolk coast for many years, but sadly he disappeared. He was called 'Sammy' by everyone.

  14. That was very excellent birds, I would love to see them all.

  15. Love the black-winged stilts. Beautiful birds.. And that baby is adorable!!!!! You certainly captured some great photos of them. Love the reflection ones also.

    Merry Christmas.

  16. They look like they are wearing tuxedos! But what makes their feet special, like a thong?

  17. such strange yet handsomely marked birds. :)

  18. Great photos of this long legged bird!

  19. Beautiful birds. Those long legs look even longer with the reflections. The baby is the cutest thing ever.

  20. Hi Margaret. Those stilts are an amazing looking bird with their black & white colouring and bright pink long legs. It's almost like they might topple over at any moment. You captured their characteristics so well with your photos and video.

  21. Thanks for the very informative narrative! I don't know very much about birds, but because of people like you, I'm learning. Fantastic photos Margaret! I loved that cute little fuzz ball.

  22. Hi Margaret. Thanks for visiting my black winged stilts post - great minds and all that! I loved your chick and the informative article. Well done! -and congratulations on your busy retirement too :)

  23. That little chick is adorable!!! We have the Black-neck Stilts the Black-winged variety are a cool new addition for me. Hope you have a wonderful new year full of lots of fun. Chris