Himantopus mexicanus
(Black-necked Stilt)

Order: Charadriiformes
Order Description: Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns
Family: Recurvirostridae
Family Description: Avocets, Stilts

Physical Description:
13-17" (33-43 cm). Adult male glossy black back, wings, hindneck, crownClick word for definition, and ear; white spot over eye. White below. Long pink-red legs and needle-like black bill. Females and Immatures more brownish back.

Similar Species- American Avocet

A loud, incessant yapping yip-yip-yip-yip-yip.

Breeds from southern Oregon, Idaho, northern Utah, southern Colorado, eastern New Mexico, central Kansas, coastal Texas and southern Louisiana, south through Middle America to southern Chile and southern Argentina; may also breed in eastern Montana and western South Dakota. Breeds locally on Atlantic Coast from mid-Atlantic states, south to southern Florida. Winters mostly from southern California, southern coastal Texas, and Florida, south through breeding range.

Found in shallow water (salt or fresh) with soft muddy bottom. In Idaho, found on marshes, on flooded meadows and margins of pond, and on lakes and reservoirs; also occupies islands in Snake River.

Eats polychaetsClick word for definition, crustaceans, snails, and variety of insects (e.g., bugs, beetles, caddisflies, mosquito larvae, grasshoppers). Also feeds on some small fishes, as well as seeds of aquatic plants.

Social; sometimes found in loose groups of up to 50 individuals. Nests in small colonies. Builds nest in depression on ground, frequently in grass. Prefers to wade in shallow pools (up to 30 cm deep) but avoids deep water; plucks food from surface of water or mud, or probes in soft mud.

Both adults, in turn, incubateClick word for definition 4 eggs about 25 days. Nestlings are precocialClick word for definition. Both adults tend young, which become independent in about 4 wk, and first fly at 7-8 wk.

Element Code: ABNND01010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.