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Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-04-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-05-10 3:42
Viewed: 5894
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have just checked - this is the first TN posting for this country.

The Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found from the coastal areas of California through much of the interior western United States and along the Gulf of Mexico as far east as Florida, then south through Central America and the Caribbean to NW Brazil SW Peru, E Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. The northernmost populations, particularly those from inland, are migratory, wintering from the extreme south of the USA to southern Mexico, rarely as far south as Costa Rica; on the Baja California peninsula it is only found regularly in winter.

Adults have long pink legs and a long thin black bill. They are white below and have black wings and backs. The tail is white with some grey banding. A continuous area of black extends from the back along the hindneck to the head. There, it forms a cap covering the entire head from the top to just below eye-level, with the exception of the areas surrounding the bill and a small white spot above the eye. Males have a greenish gloss to the back and wings, particularly in the breeding season. This is less pronounced or absent in females, which have a brown tinge to these areas instead. Otherwise, the sexes look alike.

Downy young are light olive brown with lengthwise rows of black speckles (larger on the back) on the upperparts – essentially where adults are black – and dull white elsewhere, with some dark barring on the flanks.

Where their ranges meet in centrral Brazil, the Black-necked and White-backed stilts intergrade. Such individuals often have some white or grey on top of the head and a white or grey collar separating the black of the hindneck from that of the upper back.

The Black-necked Stilt is distinguished from non-breeding vagrants of the Old World Black-winged Stilt by the white spot above the eye. Vagrants of the northern American form in turn is hard to tell apart from the resident Hawaiian Stilt, in which only the eye-spot is markedly smaller. But though many stilt populations are long-distance migrants and during their movements can be found hundreds of miles offshore, actual trans-oceanic vagrants are nonetheless a rare occurrence.

The Black-necked Stilt forages by probing and gleaning primarily in mudflats and lakeshores, but also in very shallow waters near shores; it seeks out a range of aquatic invertebrates – mainly crustaceans and other arthropods, and mollusks – and small fish, tadpoles and very rarely plant seeds. Its mainstay food varies according to availability; inland birds usually feed mainly on aquatic insects and their larvae, while coastal populations mostly eat other aquatic invertebrates. For feeding areas they prefer coastal estuaries, salt ponds, lakeshores, alkali flats and even flooded fields. For roosting and resting needs, this bird selects alkali flats (even flooded ones), lake shores, and islands surrounded by shallow water.

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis), located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population.

The capital city and headquarters of government for the federated state is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller state of Nevis lies about 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts, across a shallow channel called "The Narrows".

The islands are of volcanic origin, with large central peaks covered in tropical rainforest; the steeper slopes leading to these peaks are mostly uninhabited. The majority of the population on both islands lives closer to the sea where the terrain flattens out. There are numerous rivers descending from the mountains of both islands, which provide fresh water to the local population. St. Kitts also has one small lake.

Taken with my 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter

fthsm, anemone, CeltickRanger, Miss_Piggy, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
your workingridshaul 1 09-24 08:14
Animal Behaviouringridshaul 1 06-27 00:43
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Jaqmes, great capture of elegant bird by exotic place, nice walking pose, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Needs Improvement 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2010-05-10 6:38]

To be honest, this photo has heaps of problems. Framing is the biggest one that I see. I am trying to find something at the bottom of the frame because there is so much space. And it definitely needs more on top and left sides.
Light is so harsh that I'd think twice even about taking the photo. I cant see any details on whites and blacks either.

Anyway, I didn't even hear about this country before and notes are great.

Hi James,
Very beautiful photo of this bird which appear on TN firstly. Colours, details and composition are excellent. i like the vertical framing too.
Best regards

hello James

congratulations for this first posting from that country,
beautiful photo of this wader bird, fine focus sharpness
and details, fine POV and a different way of framing, TFS


  • phouts Silver Star Critiquer [C: 16 W: 0 N: 2] (36)
  • [2010-05-13 17:20]

I like your composition - not ordinary. It gives a clear sense of depth.

Hallo James
Charming bird which you captured in a pleasant and natural surrounding with details clearly visible. The very sharp beak is very noticeable and displays beautifully against te water as background. This is the 3rd black and white animal/bird/insect I critique today, and I am sure there are more in line. Your note is very detailed and interesting. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hi Bro James,

Congrats on this first post of this beauty on TN!
Pleasant shot, the bold colours stands out well against the silvery water background. It all looks nice and natural.
TFS and have a nice WE!


Haloo, dear James!
How are you keeping?

Nomen et Omen: the ""stilts"" are well presented by the long rectangular lay-out!

Here - in South Africa - we only have the ""Black-winged Stilt"" who is white except for (you guessed it) the black wings - which according to your notes - is different from the ""Old World Black-winged Stilt""...

A bit confusing for me, the amateur!

Compliments on being the first for posting a photo taken in St Kitts (did you have time to watch some cricket? According to the commentators their pitches are rather ""homemade"").

Thanks so much for taking the time to write your extensive, informative notes!

Greetings form soccer-crazy South Africa
Cheers, Ingrid

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-01-21 4:30]

Hello James,
this is a nice and excellent beauty of the stilt. I have seen in my place but it was so difficult to go near.
Exciting color contrast and the details are well presented here. I like its BW feathers, so lively.


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-01-21 18:11]

Hello James,
What a beautiful little bird who looks like he is wearing his best tuxedo. Not sure what he is gazing at, but whatever it is he is giving it his full attention.
Wonderful pose allowing us to get a great view of this cute shore bird. Excellent detail and pleasing natural coloration. Well done!!

jAMES, this is a real beauty. Outstanding sharpness, detail and POV. Have a wonderful day. Greetings from the USA.

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