BLACK-NECKED STILT – (Himantopus mexicanus)
The Black-necked stilt is a shorebird with very long legs (hence the name), the longest relative to their bodies aside from flamingos. The bird’s length is around 35 cm (15 in.), the legs are pink and the long, thin bill is black. Plumage is black for the head, back and neck sides, and the back. Throat, breast, under parts and tail are white. There’s also a white spot just above the eye. Sexes are similar.
The black-necked still wades in shallow water in search of small fish and invertebrates. They will submerge their head under the water to snatch prey if needed.
One subspecies of the black-necked stilt is the endangered Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanusknudseni). Compare below photos of a Black-necked Stilt and the Hawaiian Stilt.
The black-necked stilt does not breed on PEI and there’s only been accidental sightings of this bird on the island so far. Their breeding range is in the southwest USA and they migrate southward to Mexico and Central America, overlapping with year-round populations there.