Unsorted Wild Birds

White-backed Stilts (Himantopus melanurus) also known as South American Stilts

White-backed Stilts (Himantopus melanurus) also known as South American Stilts




White-backed Stilts (Himantopus melanurus) are sometimes referred to as South American Stilts.



The plumage of the White-backed Stilt is overall black and white, with the upperparts being mostly black, except for the white collar and the hindneck and hindcrown being also black. The rest of the head, as well as the underparts, is white. This stilt has long pink legs and a long and slender black bill.



Can easily be mistaken with the Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus).

They can be separated by the amount of black and/or white in the head (White-backed has less black and more white, while Black-necked has more black and less white) or by the white collar (typically present in White-backed). Black-necked Stilt is restricted to northern and north-western South America, but there may be overlap areas.


Distribution and Habitat:

The White-backed Stilt occurs from far southern Peru and central and north-eastern Brazil south to central Argentina. They are found on lakes, marshlands, river and sea shores, mangroves, wetlands etc. Their habitat naturally is always related to water.


Diet / Feeding:

They feed on insects, crustaceans and other small invertebrates in the sand or in the water with their slender bill.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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