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Black-winged Stilt

From Opus

Himantopus himantopus
Photo by Nigel Blake
Photo by Nigel Blake




Europe, Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

European population

Breeds irregularly in scattered localities in southern Europe but an opportunistic species that occasionally breeds far out of normal range or abandons long-established areas for no apparent reason. May not breed at all in dry years. Most regular areas are Iberia and western and southern France, Sardinia, Sicily and Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, the Ukraine and southern Russia, and in Mesopotamia. Also breeds on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, in parts of the Middle East and on the Cape Verde Islands. Has bred in Britain, northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Poland, also in the Canary Islands.

Most birds are migratory especially in the north but frequently winters in southern Europe and occasionally further north, and regularly in North Africa and Iraq.

Vagrancy in Europe

Vagrant to most European countries north to Sweden, Finland and Estonia, also recorded on the Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands. In Britain several are now recorded annually and breeding has been attempted at least six times. Most of the c.300 records have occurred in the south-east and in April-May and August-September. A male at Titchwell in Norfolk, England, nicknamed "Sammy the Black-winged Stilt", was still present in October 2003 after becoming resident in the area in September 1993.


A monotypic species.


Areas of shallow water, fresh or brackish, with margins of sand or mud, but does not require vegetation to any extent. Usually on lagoons or in estuarine or delta areas.


Often loosely colonial when breeding.

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