Animal Facts – Black Necked Stilt
The Black-necked Stilt is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. They also have partially webbed feet, which allow them to swim – but they rarely do. Stilts’ legs are longer in proportion to their bodies than any other bird except the flamingo. The tail is white with some grey banding. A continuous area of black extends from the back along to the head. There, it forms a cap covering the entire head from the top to just below eye-level, with the exception of the areas surrounding the bill and a small white spot above the eye.
They have a length of 35-39 cm and a wingspan of 71 cm. The Black-necked Stilt forages by probing and gleaning mostly in lakeshores, but also in very shallow waters near shores. It seeks out a range of aquatic invertebrates, mainly crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, tadpoles and very rarely plant seeds. Their lifespan is approximately 20 years.
The Black-necked Stilt is actually classified as semi-colonial since the nests are rarely found alone and colonies usually number dozens, rarely hundreds of pairs. The nests are typically sited within one kilometer of a feeding location, and the pairs defend an extensive perimeter around groups of nests, patrolling in cooperation with their neighbors.
The clutch size generally is 3-5 eggs. For 22-26 days both sexes take turns incubating the eggs. The young are seen swimming within two hours after hatching and are also capable of rapid land velocity at that early time. In spite of this early development the young normally return to the nest for resting for one or two more days but remain dependent on their parents for some more weeks. These guys usually breed after the rainy season. They begin to breed at 1-2 years of age. Males have a greenish gloss to the back and wings, particularly in the breeding season.
It is found through Central America and the Caribbean to Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and the Galpagos Islands. The Black-necked Stilt is found in estuarine, salt pond and emergent wetland habitats; it is generally a lowland bird but in Central America has been found up to 8,200 ft (2,500 m). They are not in the threatened species list but their numbers are declining because of the destruction or their habitat.
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