Hawaiian stilts nesting

Hawaiian stilts at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii
A Hawaiian stilt sits on a nest at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii
A Hawaiian stilt at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Pink.’ See more responses here.

I saw these two Hawaiian stilts at Kohanaiki Beach Park. They were in a pond at the south end of the park and, when I arrived, one was already making a lot of noise. I think this was because another person was walking on the path bordering one side of the pond. My arrival meant that the wading bird kept up its noise as it moved across the pond, away from the bird on the nest.

I took some photos and moved on. When I returned from my walk, 90 minutes later, all was quiet. The bird on the nest was still there, the other was gone. I looked around and saw the other bird in a neighboring pond, at which point, the bird saw me. It immediately began making a lot of noise and then flew back to the pond where the nest was. After a splashy landing it gathered itself, gave me a long look and then began wading along the edge of the pond, probing for snacks. It occurred to me that this bird’s very demonstrative behavior was mostly to get my attention and, by doing so, draw it away from the nesting bird. It kept up its noise, kept moving away from the nest. When I left, the bird quietened immediately. Hawaiian stilts are known for robustly defending their nests and also for such acts as feigning injury to draw attention away from the nest.

The Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) is considered a sub-species of the North American black-necked stilt. In Hawaii it’s called the aeʻo. It’s an endangered species and, while the population is considered stable or increasing slightly, it’s estimated that the total population is less than two-thousand birds.

In the little-known-fact department, the Hawaiian stilt’s long, pink legs are the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird. Only flamingos rank above them in this regard.

24 thoughts on “Hawaiian stilts nesting

  1. Pingback: Sunday Stills: A Solstice #Sunrise-Sunset – Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

  2. Denyse Whelan Blogs

    Wow, I sure had not heard of those birds before. Captured the pinks there too. We have a nesting/cranky species of birds here called Plovers. They can alienate a whole grassed area of a school playground with their fierce protection…and rightly so of course..”they” were here first maybe!? Denyse #sundaystills

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Graham Post author

      I think a lot of birds can be very territorial. I remember encountering an upset quail on a hike once, and having to fend it off with a stick while edging past!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Graham Post author

      This is the only stilt in Hawaii and I only see them on a short stretch of the coast here. I’m always on the lookout for them though. I hope you get to see some soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Graham Post author

      The legs are kind of unreal. I took these photos recently so they were the first things I thought of when Terri posted the Pink challenge.

      Like

      Reply
    1. Graham Post author

      That stretch of coast, north of Kailua Kona, is the only reliable place on the island to see them that I know of. This was the first time I’ve seen them nesting and it was most interesting to see their behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s