Black-winged Stilt in Molentargius – Saline Regional Park, Cagliari

Black-winged Stilt in Molentargius – Saline Regional Park, Cagliari

The black-winged stilt is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family.

Adults are 33–36 cm (13–14 in) long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black.

Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females’ backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter.

Immature birds are grey instead of black and have a markedly sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight.

The breeding habitat of all these stilts is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds.

Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter; those in warmer regions are generally resident or short-range vagrants.

In Europe, the black-winged stilt is a regular spring overshoot vagrant north of its normal range, occasionally remaining to breed in northern European countries.

Pairs successfully bred in Britain in 1987, and after a 27-year hiatus there were two instances of successful breeding in Southern England in 2014. 13 young were fledged in southern England in 2017.

These birds pick up their food from sand or water. They eat mainly insects and crustaceans.

The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with avocets.

The black-winged stilt is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

Molentargius – Saline Regional Park (Italian: Parco naturale regionale Molentargius – Saline) is a regional park in Sardinia, Italy.

It was established in 1999 with the aim to protect and enhance a site of international interest, already included in the Ramsar Convention since 1977 because of its number relevance about stopover, wintering and nesting waterfowl bird species.

The park is a wetland extending over an area of about 1600 hectares surrounded by the urbanized areas of Cagliari and the other towns of the metropolitan area, and the waterfront of Poetto beach.

The uniqueness of this area is the presence of reservoirs of both freshwater and saltwater, separated by a plain characterized by prevailing aridity called Is Arenas (“The sands”).

From 1850 to the present, 230 bird species, belonging to 53 families have been recorded in the Molentargius area.

Video Source: Cavalieri d’Italia con i pulli al parco di Molentargius (Cagliari Sardegna) from Simon Ska on Youtube  CC BY

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