Exploring the Wetlands with the Black Necked Stilt

Exploring the Wetlands with the Black Necked Stilt

Have you ever gone through Costa Rican wetlands? You’ll find interesting wildlife there such as the Black Necked Stilt. Below are more details about this torrential bird.

The Black-necked Stilt is a locally abundant bird that lives in the American wetlands and coastlines. They have a length of 35-39 cm and a wingspan of 71 cm and a lifespan of approximately 20 years.

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 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 Black-necked Stilt forages by probing and gleaning mostly in lake shores, 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.

The Black-necked Stilt is in the group of semi-colonial species since the nests are found alone and in colonies usually number dozens, rarely hundreds of pairs. The pairs defend an extensive perimeter around groups of nests, patrolling in cooperation with their neighbors. The nests are typically sited within one kilometer of a feeding location.

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 Galapagos 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.

Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America. Visit the Costa Rican wetlands if you want to see a Black Necked Stilt.

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