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Bird name:

Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus




Avocets and Stilts (Recurvirostridae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Lakes, Wetlands, Estuaries, Lagoons, Coasts

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Smooth, slightly glossy and greyish-brown or tan with black specks and spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

22 - 26

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

A scrape with minimal plant material on the ground or a mound of plant material in wet sites.

Nest Location:

In the mud on the edge of water, on a mound of grass in the water or raised site in shallow water.




Black-winged Stilt: Medium-sized, very slender shorebird. Long, needle-thin bill, and very long, slender, bright red legs. Mostly white with black back and wings, and black markings on the crown, nape, and face. The white tail, rump, and lower back stand out in flight as do the long, trailing legs. Adult females are similar to males but have brown highlights on their backs and less black on the face. Juveniles resemble females but have pale edging to the feathers of their wings and back and attain black eye patches by their first winter.

Range and Habitat

Black-winged Stilt: Occurs as a rare vagrant and a chance breeder in the UK. Large range, with breeding locations in the USA, West Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Central Asia. Found year-round in Mexico, the Caribbean, parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Habitats include marshes, weedy lakes, and flooded fields.

Breeding and Nesting

Black-winged Stilt: Usually breeds in colonies of 2 to 50 pairs. Nests in dry mudflats are a scrape with a bit of lining; may also be among grasses or on a well-lined floating platform of aquatic vegetation. Both parents incubate eggs; sitting birds splay their long legs out in front of them.

Foraging and Feeding

Black-winged Stilt: Eats various aquatic invertebrates plus small fish, fish eggs, and tadpoles. Active forager, picking food from sand or water. Feeds in deeper water than other waders. Good night vision allows feeding on moonless nights.


Black-winged Stilt: A sharp "kek," also a high-pitched "kikikiki" or "kee-ack."

Similar Species

Black-winged Stilt: The Avocet has an upturned bill, full black cap, grey legs, and white plumage on the wings and back.

The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX