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Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-01
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/3000 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-05-04 9:42
Viewed: 3866
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello Friends,
After a short break I’m back. I take a short holiday in the north of our country. This is the first photo taken during this holiday at the Lauwersmeer.

The Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, is a widely distibuted 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. 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.

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. The Black-winged Stilt is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

Source: Wikipedia

eng55, MMM, siggi, nglen, Argus, Marx44, jaycee, Noisette, Luis52, cicindela, uleko, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2009-05-04 9:46]

Merhaba Peter,
Çok güzel bir kare bu. Sudaki yansımasıyla birlikte seyretmesi oldukça keyifli bir foto sunmuşsun. Emeğine sağlık.


Ciao Peter, beautiful capture with fantastic reflections, splendid light and colors, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-05-04 10:23]

Hi Peter,
Very nice capture.I liked POV,reflections on water and composition a lot.Have a great week!
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2009-05-04 10:30]

Hi peter
Nice presentation.Good POV and good timing catching is meal.Nice colors and nice reflextion.Text is also great.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-05-04 11:23]

Hello Peter,
Very interesting shot of this Black-winged Stilt. Perfect composition, sharpness, exposure. Very well seen and TFS.
Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,
a splendid picture of Black-winged Stilt, very good timing to show this elegant bird with the prey in the beak, very good sharpness and very beautiful colours, a veryu pleasant composition with the water reflections.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-05-04 12:21]

Hi Peter.Good to see you back after your trip. This is a good close up of the Black-winged Stilt with the good reflection. It bright orange legs stand out so well .Good detail and natural colours. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-05-04 12:45]

Hello Peter,
Welcome back!
A very nice capture of a male Black-winged Stilt taken from a fine POV to show its features and reflection in the calm water with fine clarity. Nicely composed.
I didn't know they bred in Holland, but you have spoonbills as well!
In Sweden Stilts are very rare visitors.
Thanks and best regards,

hi Peter !
nice moment for your capture !
good contrast , beautiful colours and perfect light !
well done !

  • Great 
  • Marx44 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 97 N: 926] (3891)
  • [2009-05-04 13:25]

Hi Peter,
Nice image...
Good compo and well-chosen moment.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-05-04 16:31]

Hi Peter,

I must admit this picture had me puzzled - it took me a while to realize it was a reflection! An amazing shot of this Black Winged Stilt with the beak wide open in the midst of catching his meal. Fantastic timing to get this one! Excellent details and fine natural colors. I'm still shaking my head that I couldn't figure this out.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-05-04 17:36]

Hi Peter,
this is really lovely capture. The graphical effect gives a very brilliant visual impact.
The soft bluish water gives a good effect in making the bird so exciting. The red legs stands out beautifully.
Very sharp and clear subject that delivers simplicity of nature in action.
Lovely presentation.


Hi Peter ,
Nice shot with great reflxion.
Well exposed.


hi peter
interesting capture
with nice reflection

Superb composition, Peter. The reflected image of the bird gets blended with the original in such a harmonious way it gives the impression of a great work of art. The blue surface of unruffled water intensifies that sensation.
All in all, a great creation resulting from your outing which, I'm sure, you must have enjoyed thoroughly.

Witaj Peter,
Interesting frame. Reflection aves went out nicely. Well replete colours. Very good that background is uniform. It is possible to concentrate on object of picture and his reflection. Good note.
Gratuluje i pozdrawiam - Roma

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-05-05 15:19]

Hi Peter,when the pics are spectaculars like that,isn't easy to found words to comment.This beautiful bird in a perfect reflection is impressive,my best compliments,have a nice day,Luciano

Hello Peter
a fine capture of this black-winged stilt, nice pose of the bird in search of food
very beautiful colors and great reflections in the water
TFS Jacqueline

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2009-05-05 17:00]

Hola Peter.
Fina imagen, muy artistica por cierto. El reflejo en el agua luce de maravilla.
Saludos Peter.

Very nice composition, I love reflections very much. Good job, well done.
Best wishes,

Hello Peter!
Very nice capture with good "mirrow-effect" :> I like a lot composition.
TFS and est greetings from Lodz,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-05-07 9:20]

Hello Peter,
A lovely bird that's a joy to watch and your capture is beautiful! Great focus and fine sharp details. I also like the reflection in the water. I read your note with interest too!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

Hi MF Peter, a beautiful capture of this lovely long-legged beauty from nice POV with good clarity and composition.
TFS and cheers,

hello Peter

excellent photo of the Black-winged Stilt with his reflection,
very fine POV and framing, excellent sharpness and details,



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