Black-necked Stilt

Stilt, Black-necked

CLASSIFICATION
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Recurvirostridae
Genus: Himantopus
Species: mexicanus

RANGE
Throughout southern and western United States, south to Peru.

HABITAT
Mud flats, pools and grassy marshes. Found in shallow water, salt or fresh, with soft muddy bottom.

SIZE
13 – 17 inches.

LIFE EXPECTANCY
12 – 15 years.

REPRODUCTION
Adult males have a glossy black back, wings, hind neck, crown, and ear with a white spot over the eyes. White on the underside. Females and immature birds have a more brownish back. All have long pink legs and a needle-like black bill. Both adults in turn incubate four eggs for about 25 days. Nestlings are precocial. Both adults tend young, which become independent in about 4 weeks and first fly at about 7 – 8 weeks.

DIET
Crustaceans, snails, beetles, caddisflies, mosquito larvae, grasshoppers and other insects. They also feed on some small fish as well as seeds of aquatic plants.

BEHAVIOR

  • Social. Found in groups of up to 50 individuals.
  • Nest in small colonies. Build nests in depression in ground, frequently in grass.
  • Prefer to wade in shallow pools, avoids deep water.
  • Plucks food from surface of water or mud or probes in soft mud.
  • Call is a monotonous series of loud piping sounds. Sounds like “yip-yip-yip-yip-yip”.

STATUS
Protected nongame species

REFERENCES

  1. http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/bio/birds/gulls/bnst/bnst_inf.htm
  2. http://www.desertusa.com/magoct97/oct_pa/du_bnstil.html