Black Winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus)

The Black-winged Stilt is a widely distributed bird found in almost all the continents of the world and are hence thought to be ‘cosmopolitan’. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black.

They are found in marshes, shallow lakes and ponds, and reside and breed there. Some are known to be migrant, moving to warmer climes in winter and returning in spring. They feed on sand and water, with their diet consisting of insects and crustaceans. They feed by wading in the water, picking with its bill from the surface and sand banks. They nest on open ground in noisy groups.

They are a good sight in flight, with their long pink legs sticking out far behind its tail. Flying above water bodies in groups, they make high pitched repeated barking calls, circling and landing as they squabble for feeding territory.

I photographed this trio on the water bodies on the outskirts of Chennai, Tamilnadu.

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