Photographing The Black-Winged Stilt

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

In Spain, black-winged stilts are nicknamed "foolish storks" – which is not surprising when you take a look at their long red legs. But there is more to learn about the little bird.


The black-winged stilt is a common name for several species of birds in the family Recurvirostridae, which also includes those known as avocets legs are so long they make up almost 60 percent of its total size! In flight, they protrude about 16 centimeters beyond the tip of the behind. The beak looks like a black needle; long, straight and very thin. The head, neck, chest, abdomen and upper tail are stainless. The upper back and wings are black; some subspecies also have black on their nape. Males and females look similar except for the ascendancy back and the wings: in males they have a greenish iridescence, in females a brown shimmer.

In flight, the completely black wings look equal to sharp triangles. The black-winged stilt always keeps its neck slightly held when flying.



The black-winged stilt essentially breeds in southern Central Europe, on the Caspian and Black Sea and in Turkey. Sometimes, however, it flies further north, for example, in Switzerland or southern France. They are a classic long-distance migrant and spend winter in Africa.

With its long legs, the stilt can look for food in the water without getting wet. Therefore, it files shallow water zones in lagoons, saltwater marshes, edges of lakes and ponds.


Behavior and facts

When pecking in the water, the stilt remarkably looks for water insects, crustaceans, tadpoles and small fish. His long legs give him the advantage of being able to wade in deeper not function where it has no competitor – except, of course, other black-winged stilts, but they mostly eat in groups anyway.

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During the courtship from March to May, the leading, loud calls of the stilts are widely audible. Couples often undertake joint reconnaissance flights to find a suitable breeding ground. This is at best located on a small island or other sheltered places that weasels and foxes can’t reach.

The female lays four green eggs with gloominess spots and both parents incubate them for about three weeks. The chicks hatch and immediately start exploring their environment at the beck their parents’ protection.

Black-winged stilt are very courageous parents and defend their offspring against any danger – no matter how big it is. Raptors are decried as well as cows or horses if they come too close to the breeding site. The parents can also pretend that they are unable to fly to attract the limelight of the enemy.

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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