FWS Focus


The Hawaiian Stilt is a slender wading bird that grows up to 16 inches in length. It has a black back and white forehead, and is white below; the female has a tinge of brown on its back. This endangered species has very long pink legs and a long black bill. The Hawaiian subspecies differs from the North American stilt by having more black on its face and neck, and longer bill, tarsus, and tail. Sexes are distinguished by the color of the back feathers (brownish in females, black in males) as well as voice (lower in females). Downy chicks are well camouflaged, tan with black speckling. Immature birds have a brownish back and more extensive white on the cheeks and forehead (Coleman 1981). Immature birds produce a sharp peeping call. The total length of adult Hawaiian stilts is about 40 centimeters (16 inches). Hawaiian stilts have survived 15 years in captivity, and several banded wild Hawaiian stilts survived 15 to 17 years (Robinson et al. 1999).

Scientific Name

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni
Common Name
Hawaiian stilt
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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