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9

Black-winged Stilt

(Himantopus himantopus)
Alternate name(s): "White-headed Stilt", "Common Stilt", "Pied Stilt", "Longshanks", "Stilt-bird", "Dog-bird"; misnomer: "Long-legged Plover"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "leucocephalus": "dit", "djandjarok", "djoka" (WA)

Size: 33-40 cm; wing span 67-83 cm
Weight: 135-290 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Black-winged Stilt at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "leucocephalus"

ADULT

Frontal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, March 2015]

Frontal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Frontal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2013]

Near-frontal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lake Claremont, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Near-lateral view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Goran Lake, NSW, June 2011]

Lateral view of an adult Black-winged Stilt wading through shallow water
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Lateral view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of an adult Black-winged Stilt (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Wetlands near Moree, NSW, November 2012]

Adult Black-winged Stilt (left) now with an immature bird (right) wading through shallow water
[Goran Lake, NSW, June 2011]

Dorsal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Black-winged Stilt issuing a warning call
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2014]

Close-up lateral view of an adult Black-winged Stilt in flight
[Burren Junction Bore Bath, NSW, December 2015]

Black-winged Stilts in flight; note that the legs of the immature birds are a bit paler than those of the adults
[Goran Lake, NSW, June 2011]

Black-winged Stilt in flight (right), compared with a Masked Lapwing (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Black-winged Stilt touching down
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Black-winged Stilts on the point of landing (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, November 2012]

Long-range shot of about 45 Black-winged Stilts at Goran Lake
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2011]

Dorsal view of an adult Black-winged Stilt taken in captivity

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of an immature Black-winged Stilt (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Murrumba Downs, near Brisbane, QLD, July 2017]

Two immature Black-winged Stilts in an ephemeral wetland
[Near Walgett, NSW, April 2009]

Immature Black-winged Stilt feeding in an ephemeral wetland, in this case a flooded grain field; the dark eyepatch clearly distinguishes this bird as an immature, although the legs are already turning red (click on image for a different posture)
[Near Walgett, NSW, April 2009]

Lateral view of an immature Black-winged Stilt in flight
[Warambah Dam, QLD, June 2017]

Black-winged Stilts "crossing a road" - immature on the left, adult on the right
[Burren Junction, NSW, December 2014]

Lateral view of two juvenile Black-winged Stilts; these birds were seen begging their parents for food
[Burren Junction, NSW, January 2016]

Black-winged Stilt with two chicks (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lake Claremont, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Lateral view of a Black-winged Stilt chick (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lake Claremont, Perth, WA, January 2015]

Race "himantopus"

Black-winged Stilts, nominate race "himantopus", were also photographed by us in Oman and in Europe.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Flock

Black-winged Stilts are usually "well-behaved" birds; however, this one was so cranky that it not only kept on calling an alarm...
[Burren Junction Bore Bath, NSW, December 2015]

... but actually had a serious go at a very young Grey Teal duckling, forcing it to dive for cover!
[Burren Junction Bore Bath, NSW, December 2015]

Food, Diet

Black-winged Stilt gobbling up its catch
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, October 2015]

Black-winged Stilt gobbling up its catch, which looked like a small crustacean

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

blwstlt_20140523.mp3 leucocephalus
(SE QLD)
Contact call © MD
blwstlt_20151222_2.mp3 leucocephalus
(NW NSW)
Warning calls (in-flight) © MD
blwstlt_20151222_2.mp3 leucocephalus
(NW NSW)
Upset © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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