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Juvenile Black-Winged Stilt

Juvenile Black-Winged Stilt
Photo Information
Copyright: Carl Landsberg (Jakkals) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 3 N: 587] (2813)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-09-03
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 40D, Canon EF 300 f/4L IS USM
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-11-09 10:01
Viewed: 3784
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Let me first say something about this photo. Firstly, yes I realise it could do with a bit more foreground, but unfortunately that is how it was taken. Secondly, if you are familiar with salt/limestone lakes and pans, this is the colour of the water and feeling proud of this exposure and the birds detail I was not willing to change much of the BG. Lastly, yes I know I could have cropped a bit more in front of the bird but that would have changed the feeding atmosphere that I observed and enjoyed.
Enjoy and comments are welcome.

The Black-winged Stilt or Common Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family (Recurvirostridae). Opinions differ as to whether the birds treated under the scientific name H. himantopus ought to be treated as a single species and if not, how many species to recognize. Most sources today accept 2–4 species.
Adults are 33–36 cm long. 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 much 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.
Taxonomy and systematics
The taxonomy of this bird is still somewhat contentious. Some believe that there are as many as five distinct species; others consider some or all of these to be subspecies. In addition, two dubious subspecies are also sometimes listed, but not as independent species.
In the most extensive circumscription, with one species and 5-7 subspecies, this bird is often called Common Stilt. The name Black-winged Stilt on the other hand can specifically refer to the Old World nominate subspecies. The commonly accepted taxa are:
• Black-winged Stilt proper, Himantopus himantopus himantopus or H. himantopus (Linnaeus, 1758) – including proposed subspecies meridionalis (S Africa) and ceylonensis (Sri Lanka)
W Europe and Mediterranean region to Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, South and Southeast Asia; localized breeder in East Asia (e.g. Taiwan) but more widespread during winter; has become a regular migrant to the Marianas and Saipan and sometimes is seen on other islands in western Micronesia (e.g. Koror, Ngeriungs Islet and Peleliu of Palau) since the late 20th-century.[7][8][9] NW populations migrate south to Africa in winter.
Head and neck vary from all-white to white with all-black cap and hindneck, usually with white band across upper back. Sometimes vestigial open black chest band.
• Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus himantopus mexicanus, Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus or H. mexicanus (P.L.S.Müller, 1776)
Southern North America through Central America and Caribbean to N Peru and NE Brazil. Northernmost populations migrate south in winter. Intergrades with White-backed Stilt in C Brazil.
Head and neck always white with black cap down to the eyeline, white spot above eye, black hindneck. Usually no white band across upper back. Often vestigial open black chest band.
• White-backed Stilt, Himantopus himantopus melanurus, Himantopus mexicanus melanurus or H. melanurus (Vieillot, 1817)
South America from C Peru and N Chile to SE Brazil and south to SC Argentina. Intergrades with Black-necked Stilt in C Brazil.
Head and neck usually white with black hindneck and a black line from the nape to the eye. Usually has open black chest band and a white band across upper back.
• Pied Stilt, White-headed Stilt or (New Zealand) poaka, Himantopus himantopus leucocephalus or H. leucocephalus (Gould, 1837)
Java to New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Southern population winter in the Philippines region.
Head usually all-white, neck white, black behind and with open black chest band. Usually a white band across upper back.
• Hawaiian Stilt or āeʻo, Himantopus himantopus knudseni, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni or H. knudseni (Stejneger, 1887)
Hawaiian Islands, where it is the only breeding shorebird
Generally similar to Black-necked Stilt, but black on head and neck more extensive, usually extending below the eye.
Ecology and status
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. In Europe, the Black-winged Stilt is a regular spring overshoot vagrants north of its normal range, occasionally remaining to breed in northern European countries, for example in Britain in 1987.[10]
These birds pick up their food from sand or water. They mainly eat insects and crustaceans.
The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with Avocets.
The Hawaiian population is endangered due to habitat loss and probably also introduced predators. The IUCN recognizes 3 species at present, merging the Hawaiian and South American birds with the Black-necked Stilt; consequently, none of the three is listed as threatened species.[1][2][3] The Black-winged Stilt is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

maaciejka, Ilducabianco, Alex99, anel, Pitoncle, PaulLees, tuslaw, marius-secan, ddg, Miss_Piggy, pierrefonds, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Miss_Piggy: ThanksJakkals 1 11-12 12:25
To marius-secan: ThanksJakkals 1 11-12 09:36
To tuslaw: ThanksJakkals 1 11-12 09:34
To flashpoint: Juvenile Black-Winged stiltJakkals 2 11-09 12:59
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Carl,
what a nice photo of this bird. Perfect point of view. Great sharpness and composition.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-11-09 10:33]

Hello Carl,
Very nice photo of this young Black-winged Stilt. Good sharpness and natural colours. Special water colour and an excellent composition. A bit more foreground is the only thing that I miss. The space in front is just very good.

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2011-11-09 10:50]

Hi Carl,
Photo OF this bird is very nice.Colours, composition and details are perfect.
Regards Jiri.

wonderful capture of juvenile Common stilt in the wild,Carl
I like the detail and management...
you know to explain the bubbles that is seeing in the belly..thanks sERGIO

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-11-09 11:37]

Hello Carl.
Well done on a great shot. Lovely model and you show it very well. Nicely composed with good exposure. Great POV, crisp, clear and sharp.Best regards Siggi

hello Carl
this is a super sharpness picture
great details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

amazingly sharp cpature, TFS Ori

Hi Carl,

very sharp this image and with a perfect lighting and white management.Certainly the composition is one of the strong points.Moreover the note is surely exhaustive and well structured.


Buen formato y colores con una nitidez exquisita.
Saludos y gracias por tus amables comentarios Carl:
J. Ignasi.

wonderful subject and great photo performance!
regards Nasos

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-11-09 20:35]

Hi Carl.
Top quality image. Brilliant reproduction of all features of the beautiful bird. Exposure is spot on as well as details. Funny/ but your note is the best words about your shot. My compliments and best wishes.

Hello Carl
Great photo with wonderful colours and impressive sharpness.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-11-10 2:21]

Hello Carl,
What a fine-colored picture of this elegant bird. Perfectly focussed and shown in its natural environment. For the balance of the picture, I would have eventually left some more space on the under part of the picture(but not much)as you say in your note too.
Thanks also for your kind words in your last critique

Bonjour Carl,
Agréable valorisation du sujet dans une lumière relativement bien maîtrisée.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Carl,
A beautiful capture taken with excellent details and natural colours. I also like the composition. Well done!

Hello Carl,
What a beautiful image. The quality (sharpness, exposure, definition.....) are all superb. In the absence of some more foreground, I would suggest cropping off quite a bit at the top, I would say about one fifth, just to get the balance "right". The body position of the bird, its long beak, the space on the right...would all fit in with such an "elongate" format. It makes a difference for me, but very good as is. Well done and best wishes.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-11-10 15:49]

Hi Carl,magnificent capture whit the top of perfection under all therms of valutation,fantastic sharpness and light balance and perfect choice of point of view too.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano.

Hi Carl, Wow what a stunningly sharp image of this juvenile Black-winged Stilt my good friend, superb exposure/white balance control to support these natural colours, good detailed feather texture, just a fabulous picture Carl and very well done,
Best Regards,


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-11-11 10:38]
  • [+]

Hello Carl,
Looks like you already critiqued this shot ahead of time, so let me just say the bird looks absolutely great. The detail is exceptional and the colors are right on the money. You even managed to capture that always sought after, catchlight in his eye. Very useful and interesting notes. Great job Carl!!

Hi Carl,
Nice capture of this bird. Very Good focus, the details are nice and sharp,

Hello Carl,
Impressive capture with very nice details and exceptional sharpness.
I love the excellent clarity the perfect focus and the superb contrast against the background.
Wonderful composition and perfect shoot as usual.

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2011-11-12 11:34]

Bonjour Carl, another interesting shot with a perfect composition. Perfect sharpness and naturals colors. I like the blurred BG. Well done , congratulations, best regards, Didier.

Hallo Carl
What a beautiful bird and perfectly taken photo. Everything in this image is great to look at and appreciate. The details and colours in the whole image is seen with great clarity. I like the inclusion of the environment. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hi Carl,

The bird is well placed in the frame. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the Juvenile Black-Winged Stilt. The light has a good effect on the colors. Have a nice day.


Hello Carl

Your photo like it is its perfect, you did well
to not crop in front of the bird, its better like
this to show us from its environment, the focus
sharpness and details are great, TFS


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