Black-winged Stilt feeding on molluscs and fish

The local information on the prey of the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is limited.

On 2nd March 2013, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS noticed a family unit of three taking many snails in a short period of observation at the Malim Nawar Wetlands in Perak, Malaysia (above, below). This is an extensive ex-tin mining area covered with pond, lakes, wetlands and fish farming units. The snails are foraged in ‘knee deep’ water and swallowed whole.

On 28th February 2014 Amar saw two Black-winged Stilt catching fish in the shallow part of a lake. As usual, the bird would ‘wash’ the fish before feeding. One bird literally ‘chased’ the prey before getting it. Below shows the composite image of the stilt feeding the fish. An earlier post on the stilt taking a fish can be viewed HERE.

Literature on the diet of the Black-winged Stilt, posted earlier is given below:

1. Dostin, Mort. Food of the Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus in the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory. Emu 89,250-253, 1989. This article from Australia presents data and summarises literature. I however do not like their methods. They shot 21 birds to obtain their data! They found remains of fish in 6 birds.
2. Pierce, R.J. (1985). Feeding methods of stilts (Himantopus spp.) N Z . J. ZooL 12,467-472 and 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. Pierce from New Zealand has reported small fish as prey.
3. Hamilton, R.B. (1975). Comparative behaviour of the American Avocet and the Black-necked Stilt (Recurvirostridae). OrnithoL Monogr. 17, 1-98. Hamilton from North America has also reported fish as part of the diet.

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