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Poaka/Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus

Native. Not threatened.


Poaka/Pied Stilts can be seen on the mudflats at the Estuary and mix readily with other feeding shorebirds such as oystercatchers and godwits. It is more abundant in winter when flocks of over a hundred can regularly be encountered from the viewing Dawick Street.

They are a stunning, slender black and white wader that stalks through the water on long, stilt-like red legs which trail behind them when flying. Plumage can be variable, especially around the head and neck.The long, slim beak is black and the eye red. .


Diet consists of water insects and crustaceans which are taken from the water or the mud. When wading through water, it may take food from the surface or put its head underwater. On the mudflats it probes or scythes soft mud with its beak. Pied stilts are usually seen in groups, and also breed in small colonies. The bird has a distinctive yapping call which it utters as while on the ground and in flight,

nzbirdsonline-pied stilt

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