Himantopus himantopus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Himantopus himantopus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Black-winged Stilt
French Echasse blanche
Taxonomic Notes: Himantopus himantopus and H. leucocephalus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993), cross-regional species, are retained as separate species contra Christidis and Boles (1994) and Turbott (1990) who include leucocephalus as a subpecies of H. himantopus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Guam; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Congo; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; Gibraltar; Iceland; Ireland; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Luxembourg; Maldives; Norway; Seychelles; Sweden; United States (Georgia - Native)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.450,000-780,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Korea; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-10,000 individuals on migration in Japan and < c.10,000 breeding pairs < c.50 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour Northern populations of this species make long-distance migratory movements, travelling southwards to their wintering grounds between August and November and returning to their breeding areas between March and April (Hayman et al. 1986). In more temperate regions the species is sedentary or only locally dispersive however (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds solitarily or in loose colonies of 2-50 or occasionally up to several hundred pairs (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is typically a gregarious species, occurring in small groups (Snow and Perrins 1998) (up to 15 individuals) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) or larger flocks of several hundred up to a thousand individuals on migration, during the winter (Urban et al. 1986, Snow and Perrins 1998) and at nightly roosts (Urban et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding The species typically breeds in shallow freshwater and brackish wetlands with sand, mud or clay substrates and open margins, islets or spits near water level (Snow and Perrins 1998). Suitable habitats include marshes and swamps, shallow lake edges, riverbeds, flooded fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996), irrigated areas (Snow and Perrins 1998), sewage ponds (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and fish-ponds (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species may also breed around alkaline and high-altitude (montane) lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or in more saline environments such as river deltas, estuaries (Snow and Perrins 1998), coastal lagoons (Johnsgard 1981, Snow and Perrins 1998) and shallow coastal pools with extensive areas of mudflats, salt meadows (Johnsgard 1981), saltpans, coastal marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and swamps (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species occupies the shores of large inland waterbodies and estuarine or coastal habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as river deltas (Snow and Perrins 1998), coastal lagoons (Johnsgard 1981, Snow and Perrins 1998) and shallow freshwater or brackish pools with extensive areas of mudflats, salt meadows (Johnsgard 1981), saltpans, coastal marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and swamps (Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet Its diet is strongly seasonal (del Hoyo et al. 1996) but generally includes adult and larval aquatic insects (e.g. Coleoptera, Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, Hemiptera, Odonata, Diptera, Neuroptera and Lepidoptera), molluscs, crustaceans, spiders, oligochaete and polychaete worms, tadpoles (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and amphibian spawn (Urban et al. 1986), small fish, fish eggs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and occasionally seeds (Urban et al. 1986). Breeding site The nest is a depression (Flint et al. 1984) or shallow scrape positioned on hard ground near water on a hummock (Flint et al. 1984) or amongst grass and sedge (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Alternatively the nest may be a more elaborate platform of vegetation (Snow and Perrins 1998) constructed on a floating mass of aquatic vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests singly or in loose colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996), showing a preference for open areas close to foraging sites with good all-round (360 degree) visibility (Johnsgard 1981).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is susceptible to avian influenza (Melville and Shortridge 2006) and avian botulism (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974) so may be threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Himantopus himantopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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