Black-winged Stilt feeding on fish

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Waders | 7

“I have never before seen the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus himantopus) takes a fish. Spotted this adult with a fish he had foraged (above). The bird proceeded to ‘wash’ the fish a number of times before feeding (below). It even ‘lost’ the prey twice In the process but got it back (one post shows the fish slipping out: above-right).

“Looked up the literature on its diet.
 Dostin (1989) from Australia gives a summary of the literature. I however do not like their methods. They shot 21 birds to obtain their data.
 They found remains of fish in 6 birds. Pierce (1985, 1986) from New Zealand reported small fish as prey. Hamilton (1975) from North America has also reported fish as part of the diet.“

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
1st September 2013

Location: Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with extensive pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming

Dostin, Mort (1989). Food of the Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus in the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory. Emu 89: 250-253.

Hamilton, R.B. (1975). Comparative behaviour of the American Avocet and the Black-necked Stilt (Recurvirostridae). OrnithoL Monogr. 17: 1-98.
2. Pierce, R.J. (1985). Feeding methods of stilts (Himantopus spp.). N Z . J. Zool. 12: 467-472. 

3. Pierce, R.J. (1986). Foraging responses of stilts (Himantopus spp.: Aves) to changes in behaviour and abundance of their riverbed prey. N.Z 1 Mar. Freshw. Res 20: 17-28.

7 Responses

  1. Am

    “They shot 21 birds to obtain their data.
” – As in, killed them? Isn’t that illegal?

      • Am

        Is this bird threatened? I didn’t know you could kill in the name of research, but then again these are the same grounds on which the Japanese people continue to kill whales, isn’t it? My Japanese friend says whaling continues without regard to species, and it is most definitely not for research – it’s for consumption (even though, in his own words, whale meat is “quite tough” and “not very nice”).

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