The Black-necked Stilt is a tall, graceful shorebird with very long, red legs, blackish upperparts, rear neck, and head, and white underparts, foreneck, and eye spot, and a very long bill. Males have greenish-black upperparts.
The sexes are similar, though females have brownish-black upperparts.
Seasonal change in appearanceNone.
JuvenileJuveniles have paler upperparts than adults.
HabitatBlack-necked Stilts inhabit ponds, mudflats, and marshes.
DietBlack-necked Stilts eat insects and small crustaceans.
BehaviorBlack-necked Stilts forage by gleaning from the surface of the ground or water.
RangeBlack-necked Stilts breed locally in parts of the western and southeastern U.S. They also breed and winter south of the U.S. The population appears to be stable or increasing.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Black-necked Stilt.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Black-necked Stilts are often seen with American Avocets.
Black-necked Stilts often nest in loose colonies.
VocalizationsVocalizations consist of a single-note "peek," often repeated.
The Black-necked Stilt's nest consists of a scrape on the ground, or sometimes a mound of vegetation.
Number: Usually lay 4.
Color: Buffy in color with darker markings.