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Daddy Longlegs - Pied Stilt NZ by AndreaEL

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Daddy Longlegs - Pied Stilt NZ by 

Pied stilt Please view large. These birds look so awkward with their long legs and knees that bend backward, yet to watch them they are graceful and quick on their feet.
Slim and graceful, pied stilts or poaka (Himantopus himantopus) can be seen in their thousands at major estuaries and lakes during autumn and winter, before they fly to their breeding grounds in late winter–early spring. They are black on the crown, nape, back and wings, and white elsewhere. They weigh 190 grams and measure 35 centimeters. A self-introduced species that arrived relatively recently (perhaps around 1800) from Australia, the pied stilt has flourished in its new home – a favourable food supply was released when lowland forests and scrublands were converted to pasture. By 1993 there were around 30,000 birds.
Pied stilts are masterful at distracting enemies from the nest: They try to divert attention to themselves by simulating injury, shamming broken legs or wings in a most realistic manner. I have often watched one flying along, when suddenly it would give a loud cry of pain, and flutter to the ground in a lopsided manner as if one wing was broken. There it would flop along for a yard or so, and then lie down, flapping its wings and calling as if in agony. Perhaps it may stagger to its feet again, and then collapse with a drawn out cry of anguish and a last faint flick of the wings, and lie still. Pied stilts breed on South Island riverbeds and around New Zealand’s coast. They breed in colonies of up to 100 nests, which are mounds near water. They lay two to five greenish eggs from August (at coastal sites) or October (inland). Feeding on invertebrates and molluscs, they plunge and snatch underwater, or probe and scythe in wet mud.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Jan. 2011 Maple Glen Southland NZ

Daddy longlegs Pied Stilt NZ

Backward Knees Pied Stilt NZ


wildlife, wild birds, wading birds, pied stilt, daddy longlegs, andreael, bird spices, long legged, longleg bird, stilts

My fascination with birds began as a child and almost 50 years down the track my love for our feathered friends has not diminished. Once we moved to Tranquillity (our little country retreat) my passion for birds, all nature and wildlife became a digital reality through the lens of my camera.

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  • 1Nino
    1Ninoabout 3 years ago

    Terrific capture – wonderful words of learning !!…Tony

  • Thank you Tony for your kind comment & support, much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the information.

    – AndreaEL

    HELUAabout 3 years ago

    It´s such a slender and elegant bird, have to admire them!!

  • Thank you for your kind comment & support, much appreciated.

    – AndreaEL

  • Colin Metcalf
    Colin Metcalfabout 3 years ago

    Lovely shot!!

  • Thank you Colin for your kind comment & support, much appreciated.

    – AndreaEL

  • sarnia2
    sarnia2about 3 years ago

  • Thank you

    – AndreaEL

  • Roy  Massicks
    Roy Massicksabout 3 years ago
    As you say Andrea – very elegant birds. We have a few nesting on the Islands around us. Terrific shot !
  • Thank you Roy, this is my first encounter of the elegant little bird, I hope to see more in our area and get closer.

    – AndreaEL

  • Jenny Dean
    Jenny Deanabout 3 years ago

    my nephew in NZ thought these birds were little flamingos in NZ!! Nice series Andrea!

  • I can see why he through that Jenny with its long legs, thanks for your lovely comment.

    – AndreaEL

  • Robert Abraham
    Robert Abrahamabout 3 years ago

    Great capture. I saw a flock of them at Miranda seabird coast, but they were to far away for a foto.

  • Thank you Robert, these are a first for me, I was fortunate to get close enough to photograph. I appreciate your support.

    – AndreaEL

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 3 years ago

    Nicely captured, Andrea. I know the killdeer acts the same way to distract enemies from the nest, by feigning injury. They nest on the ground, which I found so unusual when we had them on our property in Ohio years ago.

  • Thank you Dot for your kind comment & support, much appreciated. There are a number of birds that act that way, even the mallard duck does it.

    – AndreaEL

  • Meladana
    Meladanaabout 3 years ago

    Great shot! The narrative is great, I now have visions of these birds and their acting ability to divert attention from their nests! Do they win the ‘bird’ Oscar awards? I wonder what other birds display this talent….anyway thanks Andrea. :)

  • Thank you Meladana, they are clever I give them that. I appreciate your support.

    – AndreaEL

  • lynn carter
    lynn carterabout 3 years ago

    great Andrea…..queen of the birds

  • Thank you Lynn, you are so kind.

    – AndreaEL

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