- Black-winged Stilt
 - Black-winged Stilt
 - Black-winged Stilt
 - Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Scientific name definitions

Philipp N. Maleko, Shawn M. Billerman, and Peter Pyle
Version: 2.0 — Published December 8, 2023
Revision Notes

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The Black-winged Stilt is a striking wader with long pink legs, a thin black bill, and glossy black-and-white body. The species inhabits shallow wetlands throughout the temperate and tropical Old World, excluding Australia and New Zealand, where it is replaced by the Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus). Black-winged Stilts forage on a variety of aquatic and aerial invertebrates, often employing numerous feeding techniques which they alternate depending on food availability and habitat.

Black-winged Stilt pairs breed mainly within freshwater marshes, swamps, lake edges, and river beds, building rudimentary nests amongst grasses and sedges with a particular preference toward small islets. A seasonally monogamous species, pairs have a variety of courtship rituals which may help to maintain pair bonds even after the breeding season. The species usually nests within small colonies (most often conspecific), often participating in communal nest defense against avian and mammalian predators. This social species can be quite vocal with a nasal, staccato, yelping "kek...kek...kek..."

Given its broad distribution, the Black-winged Stilt exhibits a variety of migration strategies, from sedentary to long-distance migration. Even in sedentary populations, individuals may be somewhat nomadic as wetlands may dry up over the course of a season or over years. The species is relatively long-lived with the oldest individual on record being 12 years and 2 months old. Black-winged Stilts are not globally threatened and are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN; however, with such a wide range, the species' populations may become vulnerable to various anthropogenic activities, chiefly habitat loss.

Distribution of the Black-winged Stilt - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Black-winged Stilt

Recommended Citation

Maleko, P. N., S. M. Billerman, and P. Pyle (2023). Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bkwsti.02