Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate is delighted to announce the sighting of Black-winged Stilts on the property. This new specie brings the total bird sighting list at Likweti to 184 species.
On 7th September a Black-winged Stilt was added to the Likweti bird list for the first time. No doubt due to water levels being low at this time of year, providing foraging space in shallows close to the shoreline of dams on the estate. They normally occur on coastal estuaries and a few birds move inland on occasions as summer vagrants. Three birds were seen at Likweti, a striking adult and two sub-adults. This good-looking wader has long red legs and a long, thin pointed black bill. It also has a red eye. The head and lower body are pure white and the wings, back and tail top are pitch black. The plumage contrast is wonderful to see.
Stilts feed on aquatic insects and tiny crustaceans as well as frog and fish eggs. The needle-like bill is well adapted for catching small, rapidly moving prey. They feed during the day and also on moonlight nights.
There are just three species of stilt in the world and Black-winged is the only one in southern Africa. It is a breeding resident and not migratory. Hopefully the Likweti birds will stay around for a while to be seen by visitors and residents. It is a nice bird to see and a good one to add to the list.
Text by Peter Lawson. Photo by Navarre de Villiers.