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Black-winged Stilt | Himantopus himantopus

The Black-winged Stilt is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Recurvirostridae bird family group which includes birds such as Stilts, Avocets.

The description for the Black-winged Stilt (Latin name Himantopus himantopus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Himantopus himantopus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 295 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 391. You will find a picture of the Black-winged Stilt on page 385.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black-winged Stilt between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Black-winged Stilt is known in Afrikaans as Rooipootelsie.

The Black-winged Stilt has a height of 40 cms and weighs around 170 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured grey. The Himantopus himantopus has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Himantopus himantopus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is white

Eyes are brown

Bill is grey

Legs are grey

Throat is white

Back is black

This bird has long legs ? ie legs the length of which are out of proportion to the bird's body size. This can be a useful identification guide (eg with the Lapwings).

Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Black-winged Stilt is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured cream.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Black-winged Stilt is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black-winged Stilt is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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