Black-Necked Stilt

Himantopus mexicanus

The Black-Necked Stilt is a dark-backed shorebird with a long neck and a thin, straight black bill. This large, slim wader's most distinguishing features are its extremely long, red or pink legs.

The male reaches a height of 18 inches. The mature male's plumage is shiny black above and white below. In flight, the wings are a continual black, and its tail is buff to white, while its red legs trail far behind.

The female is more brownish above, and juveniles are buff-colored on the edges of underparts.

The call of the Black-Necked Stilt is a monotonous series of loud piping sounds. It feeds on the water's surface while standing.

black necked stilt


Throughout southern and western U.S., south to Peru. Includes the Great Basin, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of the American Southwest, locally near bodies of water. The Sonoran Desert, south to the tip of Baja, California Mexico, is within its year-round range.

Black-Necked Stilt


Mud flats, pools and grassy marshes; both fresh and alkaline shallow lakes. It commonly breeds in both fresh- and salt-water habitats during winter.


Dale reports a sighting of Black-Necked Stilts on May 14th, 2010 at the Horicon Marsh just north of Horicon Wisconsin. “This seems quite a bit out of their normal range. The pictures appear to be two males so not sure if any females are present. Quite a change from their breeding habits.”

If you have taken pictures of birds that you would like us to post, please send them to and put “Bird Pictures” in the subject of your email.



Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



The Saguaro Video
The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet.

The Desert Food ChainDesert Food Chain Video
A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat.

Prickly pear cactus Video
Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest. Most prickly pears have large spines on their stems and vary in height from less than a foot to 6 or 7 feet.

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

Copyright © 1996-2020 and Digital West Media, Inc. - -