IN MALLORCA, LOOK FOR AT… WHERE ELSE CAN I SEE IT?
MORE INFO It’s pretty hard to confuse a Black-winged Stilt with anything else, even at long range. If the pied plumage isn’t enough of a giveaway, then the extraordinarily long legs, in relation to its overall size, will clinch the identification. It’s generally found in coastal habitats, although it will use freshwater lagoons just inland as well as saltwater and brackish pools. Calls include a ‘kek’ that sounds rather like a Coot, and harsher, more varied calls, not unlike terns’ calls. Most migrate south to Africa in the winter, but a few remain close to their Mediterranean breeding grounds. The saltpans at Albufera are undoubtedly the best spot for good, extended views of this extraordinary bird, but, as is the case for many waders, it depends on food availability and weather conditions. Widespread but relatively thinly scattered in southern Europe and parts of western and northern France. Small numbers turn up in Britain each year, with several recent successful nesting attempts in Kent and Sussex, perhaps heralding a colonisation. There are up to seven subspecies of Black-winged Stilt, including the Hawaiian Stilt, the archipelago’s only breeding wader. Some authorities recognise some of these subspecies as up to five distinct full species Long straight bill, unlike Avocet’s upturned bill Some black on head in summer, whiter in winter
Black (actually green-black) wings, white elsewhere, with long white V up back
Slender, elegant build Often wades belly-deep in search of food Very long, bright red-pink legs Albufera Salt Marsh