Black-winged Stilt

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Common Name: Black-winged Stilt
Scientific Name: Himantopus himantopus

Size: 13 – 14 ½ inches (33-37 cm)

Habitat: Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; found in Western Europe and Mediterranean region to Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, South and Southeast Asia; localized breeder in East Asia (e.g. Taiwan) but more widespread during winter; has become a regular migrant to the Marianas and Saipan and sometimes is seen on other islands in western Micronesia (e.g. Koror, Ngeriungs Islet and Peleliu of Palau) since the late 20th-century. Northwestern populations migrate south to Africa in winter.

Found along the edges of shallow water in open country at Shallow fresh and saltwater wetlands, including salt ponds, rice fields, shallow lagoons, and mangrove swamps.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 450,000 - 780,000. This species has an extremely large range is not currently threatened. The species is susceptible to avian influenza and avian botulism so may be threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases.

Diet: Mainly crustaceans and other arthropods, and mollusks – and small fish, tadpoles and very rarely plant seeds. Feeds in shallow water, while wading or swimming. Locates food by sight and snaps it up, sometimes sticking head completely underwater, or swipes the head and bill through water.

Nesting: 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 species typically breeds in shallow freshwater and brackish wetlands with sand, mud or clay substrates and open margins, islets or spits near water level. The nest is a depression or shallow scrape positioned on hard ground near water on a hummock or amongst grass and sedge. Alternatively the nest may be a more elaborate platform of vegetation constructed on a floating mass of aquatic vegetation. The species nests singly or in loose colonies, showing a preference for open areas close to foraging sites with good all-round (360 degree) visibility

Cool Facts: This bird is often referred to as the “Common Stilt”

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