Hawaiian Stilt

Himantopus mexicanus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Avocets and Stilts (Recurvirostridae)

Code 4

HAST

Code 6

HIMMEX

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Hawaiian Stilt is an Endangered Species due to habitat loss, and is endemic to the Hawaiian chain. They occur in lowland coastal wetlands on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai and Niihau. There are currently about 1,400 to 1,800 stilts in the islands, with the biggest populations on Maui, Kauai and Oahu. They are also found on the island of Hawaii’s Kona Coast, where the stilt population grew to more than 220 in 2001 from an estimated 105 in 1998. These stilts are nonmigratory, except for seasonal movements between adjacent islands.

SUMMARY

Overview

Hawaiian Stilt: This large water bird is a subspecies of the Black-necked Stilt. It is black above and white below with a white forehead. It has red eyes, a straight black bill, long pink legs, and sometimes a narrow dark terminal tail band. Feeds on worms, aquatic insects, fish and mollusks. Swift direct flight with shallow wing beats. Sexes are similar.


Range and Habitat

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Hawaiian Stilt SONGS AND CALLS

Hawaiian Stilt D1

Loud "kip-kip-kip" and "ke-arick" alarm calls.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"Kek-kek-kek", "yip-yip-yip"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • A key factor in the growing populations appears to be the creation of new habitat suitable for the stilts. On Lanai a wastewater treatment plant created the habitat, while on Molokai the birds benefited from the restoration of loko ia or fishponds.
  • Hawaiian Stilts are known as aeo, which means "one standing tall" or kukuluaeo, which is also the Hawaiian term for wooden stilts that were used for amusement by Hawaiian children in ancient times. Stilts' long jointed legs, bend in the opposite direction of the human leg.
  • Stilts were once hunted as game birds in the Hawaiian Islands. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Hawaiian subspecies as endangered on October 13, 1970.
  • The precise causes for low survival rate in hatchling chicks is unknown, but all of the following may play a role: diseases, parasites, poor food supply and/or food quality, and predation by bullfrogs, cats, dogs, pigs, owls, and possibly also Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Artist

Chris Vest

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