Himantopus Mexicanus – Black-Necked Stilt

Himantopus Mexicanus - Black-Necked Stilt in the US

The black-necked stilt, Himantopus mexicanus is a shorebird that may be seen in large numbers in marshes and along American beaches. It can be found from the coastal areas of California all the way through much of the interior western United States and along the Gulf of Mexico as far east as Florida, then south through Central America and the Caribbean to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. It is also found in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Quick Overview: Himantopus Mexicanus – Black-Necked Stilt
Body size: Around 14-15.5 in (36-39 cm) and a weight of 167 g (5.9 oz)
Main colors: Black, Brown, White
Range: Southern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Black-Necked Stilt Description

Black-necked Stilt is a medium-sized shorebird with a black needle-like beak, black or dark brown upperparts, and a white breast. Stilts are found in coastal areas across the world. They have long, slender red legs and tall necks, which makes them stand out. Calls: A harsh yipping can be heard. When disturbed, the medication is given constantly.

Himantopus Mexicanus - Black-Necked Stilt in the US
Himantopus Mexicanus – Black-Necked Stilt. Photo by: Don DeBold


These birds have a length of 14-15.5 in (36-39 cm) and a weight of 167 g (5.9 oz). Their wings could range from 25-27 in (64-69 cm).


The black-necked stilt’s food consists of worms, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, tiny fish, and occasionally floating seeds. The stilt is preyed upon by foxes, gulls, skunks, coyotes, and other birds.


Black-necked Stilts are found in shallow wetlands with little vegetation, such as salt ponds and pans, flooded regions along rivers, shallow lagoons, salt marshes, mangrove swamps, and mudflats. They are also found in salt marshes.


Black-necked Stilts are social birds that like to congregate in large groups. They congregate for roosting in small groups but disperse for feeding. Adult Black-necked Stilts will work together to put on anti-predator shows for the public.

Himantopus mexicanus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Recurvirostridae
  • Genus: Himantopus
  • Species: Himantopus mexicanus

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Black-Necked Stilt in the USA

From Oregon and Delaware down, it breeds along the beaches, and it may also be found in small numbers in western interior states from Idaho to Kansas, and Texas. Winters along the Pacific coast from northern California to central California, as well as Florida and other Gulf coast states.

The Black-necked Stilt can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.

Himantopus Mexicanus – Black-Necked Stilt

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