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Black-winged Stilt

Name:

Black-winged Stilt

Genus:

Cladorhynchus leucocephalus

Description:

The Black-winged Stilt is a striking black and white bird with extremely long thin pink legs. The length of its legs allows the bird to wade gracefully through shallow water in search of food.

The black bill is long and thin and used to feed on aquatic insects and crustaceans usually found in shallow water. The head and neck are white with a black nape and hind neck. The back is black and in flight the wings are black above and below and the long legs trail out behind a short white tail. Young birds have a dark wash on the crown and neck and a dark smudge around the eyes. The adult bird’s call is a nasal yapping and is used as a warning to their youngsters when disturbed, or when they are alarmed.

The main habitat for the stilt is fresh and brackish swamps, flooded paddocks, shallow rivers and lake edges, salt lakes and mudflats. They are mostly associated with wetlands and shallow water areas.

They can be found in pairs, small groups and occasionally in large loose gatherings on suitable wetlands. This bird breeds from August to December and the nest is a small platform built up in shallow water using plant material. They lay a clutch of 3 to 4 eggs and both sexes take care of the incubation duties. These duties last about a month and then the task of raising the chicks begins.

There are a small number of these stilts to be found in the Parklands. The best places to look for them are Willow Pond, Duck Pond and Randwick Pond. Recently there have been some young birds with the adults and the difference in their plumage could be observed.

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