Black-necked Stilt


Black-necked Stilts are fragile-looking black and white shorebirds with long and thin reddish-pink legs.

Males and females look similar except that females are brown-tinged instead of black. Juveniles look similar to adults but they have a faint scalloped pattern on their backs and they have paler legs. 

  • Himantopus mexicanus
  • Length:  14 – 15.5 in (36 – 39 cm)
  • Weight: 5.3 – 6.2 oz (150 – 180 g)
  • Wingspan: 25  – 27 in (64 – 69 cm)


Black-necked Stilts that breed in the US and southern Canada migrate south for winter but those along the southwestern US coast, Gulf Coast, and Central, and South America remain all year.

Habitat and Diet

You can find Black-necked Stilts in shallow wetlands with limited vegetation like flooded areas near rivers, shallow lagoons, saltmarshes, mangrove swamps, and mudflats. They also visit agricultural fields, sewage ponds, and rice fields. 

Black-necked Stilts usually wade in shallow water to capture small crustaceans, snails, amphibians, and small fish. Occasionally, they will also eat insects and frogs.

They will submerge their heads in water or move their bills side to side to capture their prey. They are also known to chase fish into the shallows where they have a better chance of capturing them. 

Black-necked Stilt Calls:


Nests of Black-necked Stilts are found near water and they make a depression on the ground lined with grass, shells, and pebbles. The female lays two to five eggs that take around four weeks to hatch.

Fun Fact:

Black-necked stilts have the second longest legs of any bird, in proportion to their bodies. Flamingos have the longest legs.