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Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-05-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1250 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-05-29 6:53
Viewed: 2936
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A Black-winged Stilt with itch.

The Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, is a widely distibuted 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 recognize. Most sources today accept 2-4 species.

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. 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.

Taxonomy and systematics
The taxonomy of this bird is still somewhat contentious. Some believe that there are as many as five distinct species; others consider some or all of these to be subspecies. In addition, two dubious subspecies are also sometimes listed, but not as independent species.

In the most extensive circumscription, with one species and 5-7 subspecies, this bird is often called Common Stilt. The name Black-winged Stilt on the other hand can specifically refer to the Old World nominate subspecies. The commonly accepted taxa are:
• Black-winged Stilt proper, Himantopus himantopus himantopus or H. himantopus Linnaeus, (1758) – including proposed subspecies meridionalis (S Africa) and ceylonensis (Sri Lanka)
W 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 . NW populations migrate south to Africa in winter.
Head and neck vary from all-white to white with all-black cap and hindneck, usually with white band across upper back. Sometimes vestigial open black chest band.
• Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus himantopus mexicanus, Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus or H. mexicanus (P.L.S.Müller, 1776)
Southern North America through Central America and Caribbean to N Peru and NE Brazil. Northernmost populations migrate south in winter. Intergrades with White-backed Stilt in C Brazil.
Head and neck always white with black cap down to the eyeline, white spot above eye, black hindneck. Usually no white band across upper back. Often vestigial open black chest band.
• White-backed Stilt, Himantopus himantopus melanurus, Himantopus mexicanus melanurus or H. melanurus Vieillot, 1817
South America from C Peru and N Chile to SE Brazil and south to SC Argentina. Intergrades with Black-necked Stilt in C Brazil.
Head and neck usually white with black hindneck and a black line from the nape to the eye. Usually has open black chest band and a white band across upper back.
• Pied Stilt, White-headed Stilt or (New Zealand) poaka, Himantopus himantopus leucocephalus or H. leucocephalus Gould, 1837
Java to New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Southern population winter in the Philippines region.
Head usually all-white, neck white, black behind and with open black chest band. Usually a white band across upper back.
• Hawaiian Stilt or āeʻo, Himantopus himantopus knudseni, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni or H. knudseni Stejneger, 1887
Hawaiian Islands, where it is the only breeding shorebird
Generally similar to Black-necked Stilt, but black on head and neck more extensive, usually extending below the eye.

Ecology and status
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 vagrants 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.
The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with avocets.

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

ramthakur, maaciejka, marius-secan, buscape, Marco2010, goatman04, Chiza, bungbing, Jakkals, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2012-05-29 7:44]

Hello Peter,
Very nice photo of this Himantopus him.in action, it is a breeding Bird also in Romania, TFS!
Regards, Joska

Curious pose of this Stilt, Peter. Looks like it is dealing with an itch.
Nice picture of the bird in its natural habitat.
Thanks and regards.

Hello Peter,
very decisive moment you captured with great sharpness and with a perfect colour. the PoV is also excellent.
best wishes,

hallo Peter
Leuke foto ,je zal maar jeuk hebben
goed van scherpte en mooie kleuren
bedankt groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-05-29 8:23]

Hello Peter,
A well-timed capture of a Black-winged Stilt having a scratch. The POV shows it perfectly with fine clarity and natural colours.
(Excellent close-ups of this species and other waders, herons and waterfowl may be taken from the hides in Albufera NP in Mallorca: a suggestion for April next year).
Thanks and best regards,

Hi Peter,
nice photo of this bird. Interesting pose! Very good point of view.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-05-29 8:59]

Hi Peter,great timing to take this strange position of the legs..ehehe..beautiful solution and great details and colors despite the distance and the quick mouvement,i like it! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
This is one of the most interesting species of waterbirds migrating also in my country.
This year I did not meet them.....Splendid composition with nice colors and very good details.

Hello Peter,
Nice and interesting photo of this Himantopus himantopus,good compozition and nice colours.The sharpness is impressive!

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird in nice walking pose, beautiful natural ambientationm, fine details, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter,
nice capture of this bird in a very strange position. I especially like the good sharpness and the natural colours.
Best wishes,

Just the moment!!!
TFS, best regards, Ferran

Ciao Peter. Good taken for the cute one in strange posture. Good colours interesting enviroment.


Ciao Peter.
Bellissima cattura di questo cavaliere d’Italia in una posizione dinamica,sorprendenti i colori, eccellente la nitidezza stupenda la composizione bravo.
Ciao Marco.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-05-29 12:53]

Hello Peter.
Excellent image.Very good POV and sharp image.I loved that pose from this specie.
Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,

A great capture with beautiful coloration, details & setting. Great timing & action pose. Well done & TFS.

Regards & best wishes!


Hello Peter
Beautiful scene with good composition and nice colours.

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2012-05-29 21:05]

Hola Peter, que bonita foto con gran movimiento y un lindo entorno; muy bonita la especie tambien...saludos.

Hello Peter,
A very nice captured of this Black-winged Stilt in natural setting, beautiful colours and good composition, a lovely nature picture,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day,
Best Regards,

Bom dia peter
Lovely capture with great pose and composition,wonderful colours and details.
Thank You
Have a good day!

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-05-30 5:47]

Interesting pose by this cute bird, good composition. tfs.

Hallo Peter,
Grote vangen van deze Stilt in een mooie houding. De plaatsing, POV, scherpte en detail gecombineerd met de mooie kleuren is fantastisch. Het grote werk mijn vriend.
Hartelijke groeten

Hello Peter

Excellent timing to have shot this wader
bird photo, with fine POV and framing, TFS


  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-05-30 18:42]

Hello Peter!
Nice to enjoy your pics again!!!This one is so funny with this charming bird posing to be photographed.Nice sharpness and natural colors.So well done!Thanks for sharing and also thanks for your kind comment in my last pic.I appreciated it!
Best wishes from,

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