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Black-necked Stilt - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from White-backed Stilt)
Photo © by Leslie
San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine, California, 18 February 2006
Himantopus mexicanus

Includes: White-backed Stilt


Subspecies melanurus, White-backed Stilt
Photo © by bievreJJ
Tanqua, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 19 September 2017

35–40 cm (13¾-15¾ in)

  • White underparts
  • Black wings and back
  • White tail with some grey banding
  • Black cap
  • Small white spot above eye
  • Long pink legs
  • Long thin black bill

Males - greenish gloss to back and wings, particularly in breeding season
Females - tinged brown.


H. m. melanurus has less black and more white on head. H. m. knudseni is larger with more black on head and neck; longer bill and legs.


U.S. to southern Peru and Brazil; Hawaiian Islands.



Photo © by Neil
Orlando, Florida, USA, 5 June 2007

There are 3 subspecies:

  • H. m. mexicanus:
  • H. m. knudseni:
  • H. m. melanurus:


Wetlands and coastlines, up to 2500m.



Their varied diet consists mostly of small aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, arthropods, molluscs, small fish and tadpoles. They also eat seeds from aquatic plants.


Chicks, subspecies mexicanus
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas, USA, 21 June 2018

Nest is a scrape built up on the sides with dead vegetation. They usually nest on mudflats. The clutch consists of 3-5 tawny olive to light drab eggs spotted or blotched with brown. Both adults incubate for 22-26 days. The young fledge after about 28 days.


Common call is a loud, sharp, "kip-kip-kip."


Sedentary in places, but local movements to long-distance migration elsewhere.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Pierce, R.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53759 on 30 January 2020).
  3. Robinson, J. A., J. M. Reed, J. P. Skorupa, and L. W. Oring (1999). Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.449
  4. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.

Recommended Citation

External Links

Search for scientific name Himantopus mexicanus:

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