Black-winged Stilt – 2008

Himantopus himantopusHirgoes AdeindduVagrant.

The Black-winged Stilt is a breeding summer visitor to mainland Europe from wintering grounds in Africa.

The Black-winged Stilt was first recorded in Pembrokeshire on the 24th July 1967, when G. T. McTaggart , a postman delivering mail, came across one on a small pond near Narberth.

The second was at West Dale, also visiting the Gann, between the 3rd and 6th April 1987.

On the 19th March 1990 a Black-winged Stilt was noticed wading in flood water at Penally by an alert observer travelling on a passing train, it remained until the 30th March.

Another was at Skokholm on the 7th and 8th May 1990, where it was frequently harassed by breeding Lapwings.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007


Black-winged Stilt head-bobbing

I had a long look at the Dale Black-winged Stilt on 6 April 1987 and was much impressed by the extent to which head bobbing was a prominent feature of its behaviour. The tempo of bobbing was neither fast or slow but it was rhythmic. It was accompanied by a somewhat bulbous inflation of the neck and a minimal flexing of the legs in time with the bobs. A bout of bobbing might continue for quite half a minute, the bird remaining silent- I was inclined to think that any movement by me, when I was already within 30 yards, would trigger off another bout of bobbing.

I have now checked through the literature on my shelves from Coward onwards. I find that only in BWP, Vol. lll, p .41, is this bobbing mentioned and that too is in the context of anxiety. Yet it is so obvious that others must have noticed it but nobody cites it as a specific characteristic.

J .H .Barrett (Pembrokeshire Bird Report for 1986)

More about the Black-winged Stilt in Pembrokeshire