Black-necked Stilt maleBlack-necked Stilt male – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) have returned from their wintering grounds to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and other locations in Utah. Black-necked Stilts are black and white shorebirds with long pink to reddish legs, thin black bills and lovely red eyes.

I photographed this male Stilt as he fed in front of me on April 16th in a marshy area on the auto tour route. Note the glossy black back with a slight iridescence.

Black-necked Stilt femaleBlack-necked Stilt female – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 314mm, natural light

Female Black-necked Stilts have browner backs than the males as shown in the image above.

Black-necked Stilts can live up to 19 years, their diet consists of small fish, frogs, clams, worms, flies, shrimp, tadpoles and snails. They breed around marshes, shallow ponds, lakes and manmade water areas. Black-necked Stilts are social birds and they are often seen in flocks of 25 or more.

Currently their status is secure but increased use of pesticides and loss of wetlands could cause this species to decline.

Mia