Black-winged Stilt (species: Himantopus himantopus) in Nattai NP (Gaia Guide)
Himantopus himantopus
Black-winged Stilt

©J.J. Harrison: Winter male Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

©Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble: Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): The juvenile on the left is the same height as the adult on the right; it's just standing in the water.

©Bernard Dupont: Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Recurvirostridae
Genus Himantopus
Species Himantopus himantopus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black. Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females' backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges.

In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have more black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter.

Immature birds are grey instead of black and have a markedly sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight. (Wikipedia)


  • From 30 cm to 38 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Adults


  • Up to 78 cm


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Distribution and habitat preferences

It is now widely accepted that the scientific name , which was formerly applied to a single almost cosmopolitan species, is now normally applied only to the widespread form from Eurasia and Africa.

The breeding habitat of all these stilts is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter; those in warmer regions are generally resident or short-range vagrants. (Wikipedia)

Local abundance

  • Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand: common


They mainly eat insects and crustaceans, found in sand or shallow water.

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.