In relation to body size,
the Black-necked Stilt has some of the longest legs of any species of
bird. As with some other species of shorebirds, they may perform the
"wounded bird" display to lure potential predators away from nesting
sites. Black-necked Stilts have been quick to colonize artificial water
bodies which suit their breeding needs, and have been expanding in range and in
numbers in recent decades. They are still primarily uncommon migrants in
South Dakota, however.
Habitat: Found in marshes, shallow
expansive vegetated edges of ponds and lakes, and shallow bodies of water.
Nests on open ground near water, preferably with very little vegetation.
Diet: Primarily feeds on insects, insect larvae,
crustaceans, and mollusks. Will occasionally feed on tadpoles, small
frogs, and very small fish, as well as aquatic plant material.
Behavior: Does most of its foraging by wading in
shallow water and plucking food items from the water's surface, or by
grabbing food items below the surface in shallow water. Will also
forage on mudflats and shorelines.
Nesting: June and July for their rare breeding
attempts in South Dakota. The nest of a Black-necked Stilt is a shallow
depression on the ground, lined with bits of grass, other vegetation, or shells
and pebbles. The female lays between 3 and 5 eggs, and both parents help
to incubate them. The young hatch after about 24 days.
Song: Loud pawwh or pleek often repeated for long
periods of time.
Migration: Summers in widely scattered locations throughout the U.S. and extreme southern
Canada. Winters near the Gulf Coast, the California coast, and southward.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Black-necked Stilt"
eNature.com: Black-necked Stilt
Photo Information: July 27th, 2009 - Bear River Bird
Refuge, Utah - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Black-necked Stilt photos.