Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)

Black-necked Stilt


The black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a locally abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found from the coastal areas of California 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. The northernmost populations, particularly those from inland, are migratory, wintering from the extreme south of the United States to southern Mexico, rarely as far south as Costa Rica; on the Baja California peninsula it is only found regularly in winter.

Distribution And Habitat

The Black-necked Stilt occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere including the West Indies, where it is a common and locally abundant resident shorebird in Puerto Rico (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998), Culebra, Mona (Ventosa-Febles and others 2005), and Vieques (Gemmill 2015). On Puerto Rico, it is very common in the Cabo Rojo salt fl ats (Collazo and others 1995) as well as Jobos Bay (Wunderle, Jr. and others 1989) and elsewhere. The Black- necked Stilt is associated with shallow saltwater or freshwater with a soft muddy bottom, grassy marshes, wet savanna, mudfl ats, shallow ponds, fl ooded fields, borders of salt ponds, and mangrove swamps, and is primarily found on the coastal plains (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 290 records within 129 hexagons or 27 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 129 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 28 percent (36) of the hexagons, probable in 17 percent (22), and possible in 50 percent (64), while the species was observed in 5 percent (7) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map). Black-necked Stilt distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 101Black-necked Stilt/Viuda

Black-necked Stilt Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Black-necked Stilt builds a nest made of grass and twigs on the ground near water, from late April to August, and from September to October, according to previously published reports (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeds throughout the year, but it is more active from April to July (see chart). Results show that this species breeds within the subtropical moist (57 percent of the hexagons) and subtropical dry forest life zones (43 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The Black-necked Stilt population is suspected to be increasing, and it is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (Robinson and others 2020). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories used by PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Black-necked Stilt has a protected habitat in land of 14 percent or 411 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (2917 km2).