Definitions

stilt

stilt

[stilt]
stilt, common name for some members of the family Recurvirostridae, shore birds including the avocet. Stilts, as their name implies, have the longest legs of any bird except the flamingo. They frequent open marshes and shallow water, wading with long strides and probing the mud for food with their long, thin bills. They are also good swimmers and fliers. Their floating nests are anchored along the edges of quiet pools. The common black-necked, or pied, stilt, Himantopus mexicanus, an elegant bird with a black back and white belly, is cosmopolitan in temperate and tropical regions. The banded stilt, Cladorhyncus leucocephalus, is found in Australia and Tasmania. Stilts are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Recurvirostridae.

Black-necked stilt (Himantopus himantopus mexicanus)

Any of certain species of shorebirds (family Recurvirostridae) that have long thin legs and a long slender bill and inhabit warm regions worldwide. Stilts, 14–18 in. (35–45 cm) long, live around ponds, probing in mud and weedy shallows for crustaceans and other small aquatic animals. The common stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is variably black-and-white with pink legs and red eyes.

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For the journal of the Australasian Wader Studies Group, see Stilt
Stilts are waders in the same bird family as the avocets. They are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm or hot climates.

They have extremely long legs, hence the group name, and long thin bills. Stilts typically feed on aquatic insects and other small creatures and nest on the ground surface in loose colonies.

The is some dispute about the taxonomy of the stilts. Handbook of Birds of the World recognises three species in two genera:

  • Black-winged Stilt or White-backed Stilt, Himantopus himantopus
    • Pied Stilt or White-headed Stilt, Himantopus (himantopus) leucocephalus
    • Hawaiian Stilt or aeʻo, Himantopus (himantopus/mexicanus) knudseni
    • White-backed Stilt, Himantopus (himantopus/mexicanus) melanurus
    • Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus (himantopus/mexicanus) mexicanus
  • Black Stilt, Himantopus novaezelandiae
  • Banded Stilt, Cladorhynchus leucocephalus

A fossil stilt has been described as Himantopus olsoni, based on remains recovered in the Late Miocene Big Sandy Formation of Wickieup, USA.

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