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Tuxedoed Stilts

Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) are abundant residents of coastline, estuarine, and wetland habitats. They’re found across the country, from California to Florida, and through to Peru, northern Brazil, and the Galapagos islands. The Northern populations migrate south in the winter months.

Adult Black-necked Stilts have long pink legs, a thin black bill, and are white with a black cap, neck, and back. They forage in the shallow waters of our wetlands, wading and probing for aquatic invertebrates and small fish. It’s a common sight to see them resting on the small “islands” of our wetlands, surrounded by water. The nests are constructed by both the male and the female, at ground-level and often close to the water’s edge, in semi-colonial formations (loose clusters), with peak nesting activity in June.

Here, I came upon a young stilt carefully guarded by its parent. I didn’t stay long, because my presence ā€” despite my great distance on *dry land* ā€” was disturbing the adult. I love seeing these guys in our wetlands: always in pairs, tuxedoed, debonair and elegant, but oh-so-shy.

Fun fact: Proportionate to their bodies, silts have the second-longest legs of any bird ā€” exceeded only by flamingos.

Black-necked Stilt (Adult) guarding its young

Black-necked Stilt (Adult) guarding its young

Black-necked Stilt (Juvenile)

Black-necked Stilt at dusk in the wetlands

Black-necked Stilt foraging for grub in the wetlands

41 Comments Post a comment
  1. long neck, skinny body, long legs, wow they have a perfect figure šŸ™‚ great shots, FeyGirl. as always.

    July 18, 2012
    • Hahahah! That’s great… And they don’t have to wear black, do they??

      Thanks so much! šŸ™‚

      July 18, 2012
      • no, they don’t. theirs are alright šŸ™‚

        July 18, 2012
  2. Super! You got a shot of junior! Excellent.

    July 18, 2012
    • I was really thrilled to catch a juvenile, yeh! They’re always so spooked, and stay far out in our wetlands… Momma was NOT happy, so snapping him was a speedy endeavor. šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
  3. narhvalur #

    Super photos here….

    July 18, 2012
    • Thanks so much! They’re easy to shoot, with their dapper little selves… šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
  4. Love these photos thank you for sharing.

    July 18, 2012
    • Thanks so much ā€” I’m glad you enjoyed this dapper little bird as much as I do! šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
  5. What a beautiful bird!!

    July 18, 2012
    • Aren’t they dapper little guys? Very elegant (but timid) birds… I love seeing them in our wetlands!

      July 19, 2012
  6. Cool Birds – thanks for sharing – all decked out in their formal attire – ha! Happy Wednesday:)

    July 18, 2012
    • Heh, well put! I’m so glad you enjoyed these dapper little guys, as much as I do ā€” they’re really unique. šŸ™‚ Have a wonderful day!

      July 19, 2012
  7. How sweet junior is. Funny, I thought Great Blue Herons or Sandhill Cranes had super long legs. I love the tuxedo look, matches my tuxedo cat…although she’d never get her toes wet without a fight.

    I(‘m here from Arty Old Bird)

    July 18, 2012
    • I was thrilled to see a juvenile ā€” these guys are so timid, that they’re usually far out in the wetlands, and quite skittish. I adore their coloring, too! Great Blues and Sandhills *do* have long legs (many of the waders do), but proportionately-speaking, these guys rank higher ā€” they do look more gangly than the herons.

      Thanks so much for dropping in! šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
  8. Great title with great shots. I do love long legs šŸ™‚

    July 18, 2012
    • Thanks so much! Heh, another (female) commentator replied ā€” long legs, long neck, what do they have to worry about? Love it!

      July 19, 2012
      • Hahaha, exactly. Maybe the tux have to go, just maybe.

        July 20, 2012
  9. Glad we have these beauties here in CA and not alligators.

    July 18, 2012
    • Hahahah! But you guys have other critters ā€” bear and puma, yes?

      July 19, 2012
      • Oh, now you’ve spoiled it. I do have to think ‘mountain lion’ locally, but not seen any walking. Only heard a bear when sleeping in tent cabin in Yosemite.

        July 19, 2012
      • Oh dear… Hearing a bear while in a tent would do it, for me (of course the male would do his best to photograph it, and promptly get mauled). I’ve had friends come across mountain lion tracks (or even the actual critters) while on hikes in CA ā€” but so often, they just want to be left alone. They’re the same Florida Panther we have here, but I’ve only seen their tracks so far…

        July 19, 2012
  10. Gorgeous!

    July 18, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I love these odd little guys… Always in pairs, with their dapper selves. šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
      • I have never seen them before, but now I’ll have to start looking for them.

        July 19, 2012
  11. Interesting and pretty birds! I’ve never seen one before.

    July 19, 2012
    • I’m glad you got to see a new one! šŸ™‚ They’re really unique little things… Dapper but always spooked, so I was happy to see a juvenile.

      July 19, 2012
  12. I love the weirdness of these guys; they crack me up every time I see them. Neat to see a picture of a juvenile! Thanks for sharing.

    July 19, 2012
    • SO true! Weird and elegant at the same time ā€” and they’re always so shy and spooked! I was excited to see a juvenile too, since they’re so timid and usually hidden or really far out in the wetlands. Glad you enjoyed!

      July 19, 2012
  13. I should imagine they are rather popular with the men, based on their leg ratio.

    July 19, 2012
    • Hahahah! Have you seen some of the comments…? You nailed it on the head! šŸ™‚

      July 19, 2012
  14. …and such lovely pink legs! Rivaled only, perhaps, by the Black Oystercatcher.

    July 19, 2012
    • Exactly! Check out those gams… Show off.

      July 20, 2012
  15. Bella Remy Photography #

    These are amazing !

    July 19, 2012
    • They’re such unique little guys ā€” I love them! I was thrilled to nab a juvie, they’re so shy…

      July 20, 2012
  16. Val #

    What funny (and lovely) looking birds. šŸ™‚ Great shots, as ever.

    July 20, 2012
    • Thanks so much…. I love these dapper little guys! ā™„

      July 20, 2012
  17. aubrey #

    A very elegant parent – with such a charming baby! Very striking captures!

    I’m about an hour from the beach; no stilts there – but there’s a place called Malibu Lagoon where they can be sighted, along with other birds I’ve never seen in the wild – Boyfriend and I have made it a point to visit this nirvana.

    July 22, 2012
    • They really are elegant and dashing, yes? Usually quite shy, so I was happy to spot her baby. Thanks so much!

      I used to live in CA (South and North), but I never made it to Malibu Lagoon ā€” but my cousin used to live nearby, and said there were MANY species of birds that gathered there! I imagine it’s a birdwatcher’s and photographer’s paradise. šŸ™‚

      July 23, 2012
  18. These are wonderful images. šŸ™‚

    August 4, 2012
    • Thanks so much! They’re lovely to photograph ā€” I was thrilled to catch some nearby, and with a juvenile (they’re usually too far off in the wetlands).

      August 4, 2012

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