Black-necked Stilts



Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) have returned from their wintering grounds to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and other locations in Utah. Black-necked Stilts are black and white shorebirds with long pink to reddish legs, thin black bills and lovely red eyes.

I photographed this male Stilt as he fed in front of me on April 16th in a marshy area on the auto tour route. Note the glossy black back with a slight iridescence. Female Black-necked Stilts have browner backs than the males as shown in the second image.

Black-necked Stilts can live up to 19 years, their diet consists of small fish, frogs, clams, worms, flies, shrimp, tadpoles and snails. They breed around marshes, shallow ponds, lakes and manmade water areas. Black-necked Stilts are social birds and they are often seen in flocks of 25 or more.

Currently their status us secure but increased use of pesticides and loss of wetlands could cause this species to decline.

Black-necked Stilt male – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Black-necked Stilt female – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 314mm, natural light

Mia McPherson, OntheWingPhotography.com

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

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Steven Scott

Great photos.  I was lucky to see some stilts in San Francisco Bay recently.
http://fieldnotes-steve.blogspot.com/2012/04/birding-at-sfo.html

Mia McPherson

Thanks Steven, they are very beautiful shorebirds. I like the pose of the bird in your image!