Monday, 16 March 2015

200. Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Black-winged Stilts are super-elegant leggy waders, which normally breed in southern Europe but have very infrequently bred in the UK. Most recently they successfully bred here last year, and as the climate continues to warm it's possible they will breed here more frequently in future. They are pretty unmistakeable, with their pied plumage and slightly ridiculously long legs; males have a uniformly glossy black back and females' and juveniles' backs are browner. The head pattern can vary in both sexes with males generally having more black markings than females, and some individuals having completely white heads. Their preferred habitat is shallow fresh, brackish or saline water with mud/sand/clay in places like estuaries, lagoons, saltpans, with maybe some short vegetation. They are very widely distributed, being found throughout much of Africa and across central Asia as far as Taiwan. Generally they are migratory in the northern part of their range, and resident in the more southerly parts.

Black-winged Stilt, ©Wayne Butterworth, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Black-winged Stilt painting.
My 200th painting! A bit chunky, but not too bad. I would love to see a Black-winged Stilt, hopefully I will someday soon!

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