|Species:|| Himantopus himantopus|
The black-winged stilt, common stilt, or pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family (Recurvirostridae).
The Black-winged Stilt is a black and white shorebird, perched on very long and slim pink legs, giving the bird an elegant gait. The adult male in breeding plumage has black and white plumage with all-black wings and upper back with greenish iridescence. Underparts are white, sometimes with pale pinkish wash on the breast. Head shows white face and forehead, and black top of the crown. Eyes are red. The long, thin bill is black and straight. The female in breeding plumage is similar but more brownish on the upperparts with sometimes greyish wash on nape and rear neck. In winter plumage, both are similar to the breeding female but duller, with variable grey wash on head and rear neck. The juvenile is paler than adult, with washed grey-brown crown and rear neck. The brownish upperparts show narrow pale buff fringes, and legs are duller.
The Black-winged Stilt feeds in shallow water, wading and catching preys on or near the surface. But sometimes, it plunges the head under the surface to capture some aquatic invertebrate. It picks up its food from sand or water. Its very long legs allow it to walk in deeper water than other waders. This bird rarely swims for food. The Black-winged Stilt is an active forager, and it can employ several methods to catch prey.This species is well adapted to nocturnal vision, which allows them to feed on windy, moonless nights. Stilts walk quickly, with long strides, wading into water.The Black-winged Stilt is a migratory bird, moving to the ocean coasts in winter. European birds winter in sub-Saharan Africa. They are often seen in flocks of 10 to 20 birds, and also in mixed flocks with other species of shorebirds.
The Black-winged Stilt’s nest is a shallow scrape on the ground. It is located on a mound of vegetation, in water on floating water weeds, or near water on the shore. The female lays 4 eggs between mid-May and mid-June. Incubation lasts about 25 days, by both parents. Chicks are precocial and leave the nest very soon, remaining hidden in aquatic vegetation. They are fed by both parents. They fledge at about 4 weeks after hatching, and they become independent 2 to 4 weeks later. They can breed at about one or two years of age.