Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) photos by Larry Jordan
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This female Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is distinguished from the male by her paler brownish back and scapulars. The male of the species has the upper portion of the head, back of neck, back and wings all glossy black. He also has longer legs than the female.
The male is the only Black-necked Stilt in the second segment of this video, along with several Greater White-fronted Geese, and the third bird that comes into view in the final segment that is larger than the other two birds.
Either one is unique in its plumage so as to be unmistakable wandering the shoreline anywhere within their range.
I found these beauties at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, one of the many locations the Black-necked Stilt breeds in the California Central Valley (map courtesy of Terry Sohl at South Dakota Birds).
Black-necked Stilts will wade in water of any depth up to the height of their breast.
They avoid getting their breast wet1…
which shouldn’t be a problem according to my iBird Explorer iPhone app…
which states that they have the second longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird…
exceeded only by flamingos.
They forage day and night…
mostly for aquatic invertebrates, by pecking them off the water surface…
but they will also plunge their heads into the water for fish and snails.
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the habitat manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Stamp.
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