The Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found from the coastal areas of California through much of the interior western United States and along the Gulf of Mexico as far east as Florida, then south through Central America and the Caribbean to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands.
Adults have long pink legs and a long thin black bill. They are white below and have black wings and backs. The tail is white with some gray banding. A continuous area of black extends from the back along the hind-neck to the head. There, it forms a cap covering the entire head from the top to just below eye-level, with the exception of the areas surrounding the bill and a small white spot above the eye. Males have a greenish gloss to the back and wings, particularly in the breeding season. This is less pronounced or absent in females, which have a brown tinge to these areas instead. Otherwise, the sexes look alike. [Wikipedia]
A striking black-and-white bird with very long, thin red legs, the Black-necked Stilt is found along the edges of shallow water in the open country. [All About Birds]
Black-necked Stilt Facts [All About Birds]
- Five species of rather similar-looking stilts are recognized in the genus Himantopus. They have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos.
- The Hawaiian subspecies of Black-necked Stilt has the black of its neck reaching much farther forward than the mainland forms. Habitat loss and hunting led to the decline in its numbers. It uses primarily the few freshwater wetlands found on the Hawaiian Islands.
- The oldest recorded Black-necked Stilt was at least 12 years, 5 months old. It was banded in Venezuela and found in the Lesser Antilles.