Black-winged stilt

Elegant long-legged wader, common almost worldwide

Charles J. Sharp

The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a striking shorebird renowned for its elegant appearance and distinctive long, slender pink legs, which it gracefully extends as it moves through its wetland habitats.

During the breeding season, the adult male Black-winged Stilt dons a striking plumage characterized by contrasting black and white feathers. Its wings are entirely black, contrasting vividly with the white underparts and a subtle pinkish wash across the breast. The head features a white face and forehead, while the crown is adorned with a glossy black cap, adding to its regal appearance. Its eyes, with dilated pupils, provide keen vision for detecting prey and potential threats. The bill is sleek, straight, and black, perfectly adapted for probing the mud and water for food. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Black-winged Stilt is its remarkable pink legs and feet, which are exceptionally long and slender, allowing it to wade effortlessly in shallow waters in search of prey.

The Black-winged Stilt is a highly adaptable species with a broad distribution across the globe. It can be found in a diverse range of habitats, including wetlands, marshes, lakeshores, estuaries, and coastal lagoons. Its range extends across continents, encompassing regions such as Australia, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, parts of North America, and Eurasia, as well as island nations like Hawaii and the Philippines. This widespread distribution reflects the species’ ability to thrive in various ecosystems and climatic conditions, from tropical to temperate regions.

In addition to its striking appearance and adaptability, the Black-winged Stilt plays a vital ecological role as a predator and prey species within its wetland habitats. It feeds primarily on aquatic invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, and mollusks, which it captures by probing the mud and shallow waters with its long bill. Conversely, it serves as prey for larger predators such as birds of prey, mammals, and reptiles, contributing to the intricate web of species interactions within wetland ecosystems.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2016
Passage
Albania
2016
Breeding
Algeria
2016
Angola
2016
Anguilla
2016
Antigua & Barbuda
2016
Argentina
2016
Armenia
2016
Breeding
Aruba
2016
Australia
2016
Breeding
Austria
2016
Breeding
Azerbaijan
2016
Bahamas
2016
Bahrain
2016
Bangladesh
2016
Barbados
2016
Belarus
2016
Breeding
Belgium
2016
Breeding
Belize
2016
Benin
2016
Bermuda
2016
Bonaire
2016
Bosnia And Herz.
2016
Botswana
2016
Brazil
2016
British Virgin Is.
2016
Brunei
2016
Non-Breeding
Bulgaria
2016
Burkina Faso
2016
Burundi
2016
Cambodia
2016
Cameroon
2016
Canada
2016
Cape Verde
2016
Cayman Islands
2016
Central Af. Rep.
2016
Chad
2016
Chile
2016
China
2016
Christmas Island
2016
Vagrant
Colombia
2016
Congo-Brazzaville
2016
Vagrant
Costa Rica
2016
Croatia
2016
Cuba
2016
Curaçao
2016
Cyprus
2016
Czechia
2016
Breeding
Côte D’ivoire
2016
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2016
Denmark
2016
Vagrant
Djibouti
2016
Dominica
2016
Dominican Republic
2016
East Timor
2016
Ecuador
2016
Egypt
2016
El Salvador
2016
Eritrea
2016
Estonia
2016
Vagrant
Eswatini
2016
Ethiopia
2016
Falkland Islands
2016
Malvinas
Finland
2016
Vagrant
France
2016
French Guiana
2016
Gabon
2016
Gambia
2016
Georgia
2016
Breeding
Germany
2016
Breeding
Ghana
2016
Gibraltar
2016
Vagrant
Greece
2016
Grenada
2016
Guadeloupe
2016
Guam
2016
Non-Breeding
Guatemala
2016
Guinea-Bissau
2016
Guinea
2016
Guyana
2016
Haiti
2016
Honduras
2016
Hong Kong
2016
Hungary
2016
Breeding
Iceland
2016
Vagrant
India
2016
Indonesia
2016
Iran
2016
Iraq
2016
Ireland
2016
Vagrant
Israel
2016
Italy
2016
Jamaica
2016
Japan
2016
Jordan
2016
Kazakhstan
2016
Breeding
Kenya
2016
Korea
2016
Kuwait
2016
Kyrgyzstan
2016
Breeding
Laos
2016
Lebanon
2016
Passage
Lesotho
2016
Liberia
2016
Libya
2016
Luxembourg
2016
Vagrant
Madagascar
2016
Malawi
2016
Malaysia
2016
Maldives
2016
Vagrant
Mali
2016
Malta
2016
Martinique
2016
Mauritania
2016
Mexico
2016
Micronesia
2016
Non-Breeding
Moldova
2016
Mongolia
2016
Breeding
Montenegro
2016
Breeding
Montserrat
2016
Morocco
2016
Mozambique
2016
Myanmar
2016
Namibia
2016
Nepal
2016
Netherlands
2016
Breeding
New Zealand
2016
Breeding
Nicaragua
2016
Niger
2016
Nigeria
2016
Nort. Mariana Is.
2016
Non-Breeding
North Korea
2016
Vagrant
North Macedonia
2016
Norway
2016
Vagrant
Oman
2016
Pakistan
2016
Palau
2016
Non-Breeding
Panama
2016
Papua New Guinea
2016
Breeding
Paraguay
2016
Peru
2016
Philippines
2016
Poland
2016
Breeding
Portugal
2016
Puerto Rico
2016
Qatar
2016
Romania
2016
Russia
2016
Breeding
Rwanda
2016
Saint Barthélemy
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Saint Lucia
2016
Saint Vincent
2016
Saudi Arabia
2016
Senegal
2016
Serbia
2016
Breeding
Seychelles
2016
Vagrant
Sierra Leone
2016
Singapore
2016
Sint Maarten
2016
Dutch Part
Slovakia
2016
Breeding
Slovenia
2016
Breeding
Somalia
2016
South Africa
2016
South Sudan
2016
Non-Breeding
Spain
2016
Sri Lanka
2016
Non-Breeding
St. Kitts & Nevis
2016
Sudan
2016
Suriname
2016
Sweden
2016
Vagrant
Switzerland
2016
Breeding
Syria
2016
Taiwan
2016
Non-Breeding
Tajikistan
2016
Breeding
Tanzania
2016
Thailand
2016
Togo
2016
Trinidad & Tobago
2016
Tunisia
2016
Non-Breeding
Turkey
2016
Turkmenistan
2016
Breeding
Turks & Caicos
2016
UAE
2016
US Virgin Islands
2016
Uganda
2016
Ukraine
2016
United Kingdom
2016
Breeding
United States
2016
Uruguay
2016
Uzbekistan
2016
Breeding
Venezuela
2016
Vietnam
2016
Yemen
2016
Zambia
2016
Zimbabwe
2016

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Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic (size)

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No