Hawaiian Stilt

Himantopus mexicanus




Avocets and Stilts (Recurvirostridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Yellow or buff blotched with black or brown.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with stems, weeds, sticks, grasses, fragments of shells, small rocks, fish bones, and rubbish.


Most migrate



Hawaiian Stilt: Large tall, slender wading bird with a long black bill, the sexes are similar; black above and white below with a white forehead. The female has a tinge of brown on its back. The black on the head extends low on the forehead and around the side of the neck to a greater degree than the Continental Black-necked Stilt. Adults have a red eye-color, long legs ranging from light to dark pink, and sometimes a narrow dark terminal tail band. This stilt is a sub species of the Black-necked Stilt.

Breeding and Nesting

Hawaiian Stilt: Breeding and nesting season is from December to August. These stilts build nests in shallow depressions on small mounds, often on the banks of loi kalo or in low-lying vegetation areas near the water. The nest is lined with rocks and twigs. The female usually lays four eggs which are well camouflaged. She aggressively defends the nest. The eggs incubate for 24 to 26 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Hawaiian Stilt: These wading birds often gather in groups. They make a chirping sound similar to kip, kip or keek, keek. They use their long beaks to probe the shallow water mud flats for food including worms, aquatic insects, crabs, fish and mollusks. They trap fish by concentrating them in shallow water. They cluster to feed around delivery pipes carrying water runoff from sugar cane fields.


Hawaiian Stilt: Song is a sharp "kip-kip-kip-kip." Calls include a continuous "yap yap yip yap" while displaying, "whuck", "cleek", "put", "pep", "kwa", "kek kek kek kek", "kee-kee-kee", or "kip-kip-kip." During non-breeding season, make a gull-like "kwirk-kwirk-kwirk."

Similar Species

Black-necked Stilt: American Avocet is larger, and has white on back, dark legs, and rust-brown or gray on head and neck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X