Black stilt Facts

Black stilt Facts
Black stilt, also known as Kaki, is wading bird that belongs to the avocet family. It can be found only on New Zealand (Mackenzie Basin, on the South Island). Black stilt inhabits braided rivers, areas near the streams and ponds, and swamps. This bird was widespread and numerous until the 19th century when European settlers started to colonize New Zealand. Introduction of new predatory species and accelerated draining of wetlands led to drastic decline in the number of black stilts in the wild. Black stilt is one of the rarest bird on the planet (less than 100 birds are left in the wild). Captive breeding (artificial incubation of eggs and introduction of new generations of birds into the wild) is currently the only thing that can prevent extinction of black stilts.
Interesting Black stilt Facts:
Black stilt can reach 13 to 14 inches in length and 6 to 7 ounces of weight.
Black stilt is covered with black feathers. Young birds are black and white colored. They attain adult coloration at the age of 18 months.
Black stilt has long, needle-like bill, slender body and long, red legs.
Black stilt is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on small fish, mollusks and larvae of various aquatic insects.
Black stilt pecks the mud and moves its bill back and forth through the water to find food.
Natural enemies of black stilts are feral cats, stoats and ferrets.
Black stilt is non-migratory bird. It resides in the same habitat all year round.
Mating season of black stilts takes place from August to February.
Black stilts form monogamous pairs (they mate for a lifetime) and breed solitary. Both males and females collect twig, grass and aquatic plants for the construction of the nest, located close to the water.
Majority of females lay 1 to 5 (4 on average) eggs during October. Eggs are light green or olive-brown colored and covered with dark brown spots. Both parents participate in the incubation of eggs during a period of 25 days.
Chicks are precocial (well developed at birth). They can hunt and swim almost immediately after hatching.
Both parents take care of their chicks until they become ready to survive on their own. Parents produce alarm calls to inform their chicks about upcoming danger. Young chicks freeze, while older birds run and hide at the first sound of alarm calls.
Black stilts reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 3 years.
Black stilts can interbreed with Australasian pied stilts (also known as Poaka), when they cannot find mating partner of their own species. Produced hybrids are fertile, but they have lower survival rate compared to genetically pure black stilts. Interbreeding also reduces number of black stilts in the wild.
Black stilts can survive up to 12 years in the wild.

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