01 February, 2012

Black Stilt

Scientific Name: Himantopus novaezelandiae

Population Estimate: 200 individuals, Critically Endangered

Range / Habitat: Restricted to two braided river basins near Twizel, in the South Island of New Zealand. Eggs taken from birds in the wild, raised in a protected environment, then released back to the wild.

Field Notes: All black, medium-sized wader with long pink-red legs, fine bill, red eye. Juvenile with variable white to the head, neck and chest. White-headed Stilt could be confused for a juvenile, but former has no black at all on belly.

Personal Notes: We had visited the DOC breeding site and saw these birds in captivity but then were given a tip from the owner of Heartland Lodge and were lucky enough to find them in the wild. Quite a treat!

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