This post was suggested by Christy of Verseherder. We were chatting about Stilts, one of my favourite waders and I happened to mention how many photographs I have of them, but then I realised I have hardly shared any of those photographs with you! I’ve posted about them before in Stilts of Olhao, but that was so long ago and I have so many more photographs to share. So today I thought I’d share a few more. Thanks again Christy!
The Portuguese call Black-Winged Stilts ‘pernilonga’ which is such as appropriate name as they really must be in the top 3 for waders with the longest legs!
They eat mainly insects and crustaceans, spending their summers in marshes, ponds and shallow lakes and their winters on the coasts. We have seen them year round in Olhão and with the exception of the two nesting all of these photographs were taken in Olhão. Generally we see around half dozen at any one time but their numbers increased significantly during the migratory period as the migrating populations headed north. You can’t miss them; they are unmistakable with the long pink legs, black wings, while necks and noisy calls. To hear their call check out the excellent Aves de Portugal site.
The slight variation you are seeing in the black in these photographs reflects adults versus juveniles, and winter versus summer plumage. Ones you will see in Europe are all of the same species. There is a lack of agreement on whether the ones since elsewhere across the world are the same species or whether there are sub-species, but I’m not going to talk about that nor their Latin name as it is all terribly complicated! If you want to know more though about their taxonomy then I suggest you start with the wikipedia entry.