The Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, is a large wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae.
Adults are 33-36 cm long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are mainly white with a dark cap and a dark back.
The taxonomy of this bird is still somewhat contentious: some sources believe that there are as many as five distinct species; others consider some or all of these to be subspecies. The five forms are:
* nominate Himantopus himantopus himantopus, which occurs in most of the warmer parts of southern and southeastern Europe, southern Asia and north Africa.
* the Black-necked Stilt, which breeds from the US to northern South American has a dark head with a white spot over the eye. It is recorded as Himantopus mexicanus in the Sibley-Monroe checklist.
* the southern South America melanurus is larger than mexicanus and often has a white crown.
* the rare and endangered Hawaiian knudseni has more extensive black on its neck than the American forms.
* leucocephalus of southeastern Indonesia and Australia has a white head.
The breeding habitat of all forms is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with avocets.
Source : Wikipedia, Photo comes from Neusiedler See
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