Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
What they look like: The Black-necked Stilt is a medium-sized shorebird with a black needle-like bill, black or dark brown upperparts, and a white breast. They have long, thin red legs, and a long neck.
Where they live: Black-necked Stilts are found on the margins of shallow inland lakes and ponds. They also also use wetlands with more emergent vegetation such as flooded fields. Black-necked Stilts may visit coastal mud flats during migration.
During the breeding season, Black-necked Stilts are scattered in small colonies from Potholes Reservoir in central Washington north to Okanogan County. They are occasionally seen in western Washington in spring (April to May).Click the range map to learn more about the distribution of Black-necked Stilt in Washington.
What they eat: Black-necked Stilts most often consume aquatic invertebrates. They also eat small fish, tadpoles, and seeds of aquatic plants.
Behavior: Black-necked Stilts are gregarious birds. They roost in small groups, but spread out while foraging.
Black-necked Stilt adults will participate jointly in anti-predator displays. The anti-predator display called 'the popcorn display' consists of a group of adults circling around a ground predator and hopping side to side while flapping their wings. Black-necked Stilts often call loudly when agitated by an animal in their territory.
The female typically lays four eggs. Both parents care for young. Pairs normally have one brood of young per season.
The precocial chicks are able to leave the nest within 1-2 hours of hatching. Family groups still remain together after the young can fly.
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