Black-necked Stilt
(Himantopus mexicanus)


Picture of bird
© Ted Krug
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Black-necked Stilt is most abundant in natural and man-made wetlands from the southern United States to southern South America. However, due to a northward expansion of the range, the species has increased in abundance in Canada relative to about 1970. The Black-necked Stilt was first observed to breed in Canada in 1977, and breeding has since been observed in several provinces. Sightings of non-breeders have also become more numerous. The cause of this range expansion is not entirely understood.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2014 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge IncreaseMedium

Population estimate

Canada< 1,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Breeding conditions for the Black-necked Stilt in Canada are apparently favourable, as evidenced by their recent range expansions (Dekker et al. 1979, Smith 1996). Moreover, the species appears to be increasing in abundance range-wide. However, in some portions of the range, loss and degradation of wetlands could adversely affect populations. Also, the species’ use of agricultural wetlands could expose them to harmful levels of contaminants (Williams et al. 1989).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type


  • British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas. 2011. First British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas, 2007-2011 (preliminary results). British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas. 2011. First British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas, 2007-2011 (preliminary results). (Link)
  • Dekker, D., R. Lister, T.W. Thormin, D.V. Weseloh, and L.M. Weseloh. 1979. Black-necked Stilts nesting near Edmonton, Alberta. Canadian Field-Naturalist 93:68-69.
  • Gratto-Trevor, C.L. 2002. Bucking the trend: increasing numbers of Black-necked Stilts in Canada. North American Birds 56:246-250.
  • Peck, M.K., G. Coady, A.G. Carpentier and B.S. Cherriere. 2004. First breeding and nest record of Black-necked Stilt in Ontario. Ontario Birds 22:106-119.
  • Smith, A.R. 1996. Atlas of Saskatchewan Birds. Saskatchewan Natural History Society, Special Publications No. 22, Manley Callin Series No. 4. Regina, SK. 456 pp.
  • Tomlinson, R. 2005. Unsuccessful nesting attempt of Black-necked Stilt in British Coulmbia. Wildlife Afield 2:19.
  • Williams, M.L., R.L. Hothem and H.M. Ohlendorf. 1989. Recruitment failure in American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts nesting at Kesterson Reservoir, California, 1984-1985. Condor 91:797-802.