Amaze-wing Facts About The Black-necked Stilt For Kids

Black necked stilt facts on the North American birds with a long neck and pink legs.

A flock of elegant members of the Recurvirostridae family, the Black-necked stilt (black necked stilt Himantopus mexicanus) is dark-backed with white shades on the lower side. These are vociferous organisms and gregarious in nature. We may use terms like BNST, an abbreviation for black-necked stilt. The black-necked stilts have long and slender legs well adapted to foraging food and wading in water. The color tones in legs usually consist of pink to shades of red. The legs of these organisms are webbed though slightly. While the bodies of male black-necked stilts possess a greenish to black glossy appearance, particularly on back and wings, in females, the glossy appearance is usually black to brown.

Black-necked Stilt

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small seeds, crayfish, brine shrimp, snails, tiny fish, tadpoles

What do they eat?

Omnivores; which is surviving on flesh as well as plants

Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.30-0.38 lb

How long are they?

Wingspan: 25-27 in

Legs: 8-10 in

How tall are they?

13-16 in

What do they look like?

Black and white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Loss of Habitat

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Wetlands and coastlines


North America





Scientific Name

Himantopus mexicanus





Black-necked Stilt Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black-necked stilt?

The black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is members of Class Aves; that is a class including birds. These are shorebirds with a characteristic black and white color, darkly toned feathers, and a slender neck. They are primarily found in North America.

What class of animal does a black-necked stilt belong to?

A black-necked stilt bird belongs to Class Aves of Subphylum Vertebrata. Aves are characterized by the presence of forelimbs modified into wings. These north American birds prefer to live in sewage ponds and flooded fields with shallow water.

How many black-necked stilts are there in the world?

No specific figures have been allotted to the total number of black-necked stilt inhabited on earth. However, overall the population has been observed to occur over a large range and can be said to be healthy.

Where does a black-necked stilt live?

The black-necked stilt is native occupants of the wetlands (such as shallow lakes, salt ponds) and coastlines of the United States. They are widely distributed in different regions of the United States, including California, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Central America, and the Galápagos Islands. Generally, a lowlands bird has been located at 82 00 ft (2,500 m) in Central America.

What is a black-necked stilt's habitat?

The black-necked stilt avocet is known to be commonly found in both Marine (contain saltwater) as well as freshwater shallow lakes. Their nest site include shallow wetlands or lagoons, sewage ponds, mangrove swamps,  flooded areas along rivers. Besides these, the black-necked stilt are also attracted to rice fields, evaporation ponds, flooded agricultural fields. These birds sometimes tend to prefer such human-induced wetlands for inhabitation over natural habitats.

Who do black-necked stilts live with?

The black-necked stilt is a set of birds found to be prevailing in groups. Be it for activities such as migration, breeding, or protecting the young ones or even in general, these birds move along in groups.

How long does a black-necked stilt live?

The average lifespan of the black-necked stilt is about five years. However, the oldest black-necked stilt is known to have lived for as long as 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating rituals in the black-necked stilt is quite interesting with an engaging and animated wooing amongst the sexes. Generally, the breeding season is known to extend from late April to August (but in case of tropical inhabitants the cycle starts after the rainy season). During the mating season, the female and male black-necked stilt are known to preen facing one another and continue the action along with frenzied bill dipping and splashing just before copulation. After mating (leading to fertilization), the couple cross their bills and along or run along for some distance. The paired black-necked stilt usually stay together for the breeding season (except in the case of nest fails; in such cases the birds tend to begin again with new partners.)  Following fertilization, the female lays about three to four eggs that are usually buff-colored with dark spots. Both the male and the female black-necked stilt are known to incubate the eggs in turns for an average period of about 22-26 days and jointly take care of the offspring.

What is their conservation status?

As per the black-necked stilt range map, overall, the species of the black-necked stilt do not fall under the category of threatened species. In fact, these birds are listed under Least Concerned by IUCN. However, a dire circumstantial crisis seems to be failing their way due to serious loss of habitats, especially along the North American inhabitation. Factors such as pollution and loss of habitat due to human occupations have affected both the population and the food habits of the black-necked stilt.

Black-necked Stilt Fun Facts

What do black-necked stilts look like?

Members of the Recurvirostridae Family, the black-necked stilts are shorebirds with a distinctive character trait of long (about 8-10 in) legs resembling stilts. These birds have a slender body with the dorsal side covered with striking black or dark brown plumage while the lower surface in a white shade. The black bill of these birds is pointed and needle-like. The tail of black-necked stilts is white with a blend of grey tones. The Hawaiian subspecies of the black-necked stilt has the black of its neck reaching much farther down  

Black necked stilts feed on seeds of aquatic plants, tadpoles, and small fish.

How cute are they?

The black-necked Stilts are elegant and beautiful birds to look at; with the fantastic blend and distribution of colors such as black, brown, white, and red, these are grand to look at.

How do they communicate?

The species of black-necked stilts are vocally loud and expressive. These organisms are known to communicate by producing a series of loud strident, shrill and sharp sounds.

How big is a black-necked stilt?

The average size of black-necked stilts is about 12-14 in. They possess a  wingspan of about 25-27 in and legs as long as 8-10 in long.

How much does a black-necked stilt weigh?

The Average Weight of black-necked stilts is about  0.30-0.38 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

No distinctive names are allotted to the males and females of this species. The male birds of this group are generally referred to as male black-necked stilts while the females are referred to as female black-necked stilts.

What would you call a baby black-necked stilt?

A baby black-necked stilts is referred to as progenies, offspring or young stilts.

What do they eat?

The black-necked stilts are quite talented and smart food hunters. They utilize both the sense of vision as well touch when hunting for food. Wadding into shallow water, the black-necked stilts feed on small creatures and aquatic invertebrates such as amphibians, snails, small seeds, brine shrimp, snails, tadpoles, fish, and dragonfly nymphs.

Are they aggressive?

Black-necked stilts are a group of noisy and aggressive birds. Since they move in flocks and are gregarious in nature, they are quite strong-willed and fearless when defensive (mostly due to support of the group adhering together). They also possess a strong territorial sense.

Would they make a good pet?

These birds can’t live in an enclosed environment as they are habitual to fly around high surfaces. So, it is advised that these birds remain free in the atmosphere where they feel comfortable.

Did you know...

The  black-necked stilts are well known for their excellent aerial tactics to divert and deflect their predators. In order to safeguard their young ones, these birds notably mock injuries and distract the predators.

The growth of the offspring of black-necked stilts is usually fast. They reach independence by feeding themselves in a span of about four to five weeks.

How can you tell black-necked stilts and American avocets apart?

Through relatives, there are certain prominent differences between American avocets and black-necked stilts. In contrast to black-necked stilts, in American Avocets the dorsal side is covered with white as well as black shades (while in stilts, it is only black), and their legs are a grey color that is in variations to red and pink tones of stilts.

What do black-necked stilts do in hot weather?

In order to keep their eggs and young ones cool, on very hot days, the black-necked stilts resolve to belly soaking; that is, these elegant birds soak the feather around their bellies and make nearly a hundred trips to transport water to their nests. The water acts as a coolant, thus helping to maintain a pleasant temperature and increase the humidity of the next, for the eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our black-necked stilts coloring pages.



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