Himantopus himantopus Linnaeus, 1758
Class: Aves - Order: Charadriiformes - Family: Recurvirostridae
Status: Nature 2000 Code: A131. This species is listed in Annex I of the Wild Birds Directive (2009/147/EC), in Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and Annex I of Regional Law n. 23/1998.
In Italy, the species does not fulfill the conditions for being included in one of the categories of threat (population decline of 30% in three generations, reduced number of mature individuals, and small distribution area) and, therefore, it has been classified as "Least Concern" (LC) on the Italian Red List.
Distribution: This species is present in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a species that is capable of opportunistic nesting, so it occupies nests that were built by other species. It does not always nest in dry years. In Sardinia, it nests and stays for the winter.
Morphology: It is a bird of medium to large size, with legs that can reach 30 centimeters in length. Its dorsal plumage is black, and its belly is pure white. Its long, thin beak is black and its irises are red. It does not have a marked sexual dimorphism.
Habitat and ecology: It prefers calm waters, in either natural or artificial wetlands. Its migration depends on the quantity of water in the ponds that they frequent. It is a gregarious species throughout the year and it forms monogamous pairs during breeding seasons. It nests on dry ground with low vegetation, near water that is full of prey. Both parents are partners in building the nest and brooding their eggs. It mainly feeds on aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, spiders, worms (annelids), and eggs and tadpoles of amphibians and small fish.
It nests in this Site of Community Importance, where it can be seen feeding on aquatic insects, amphibians, tadpoles, and eggs in the paùlis.
Photo Derek Keats CC BY-SA