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Pied stilt | poaka

Status: Declining


Believed to have arrived in New Zealand in the early 1800s, the pied stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus) poaka (Māori) measures 35cm and weighs 190gm. Occasionally a single pair will nest alone, but usually they breed in colonies. They will breed with black stilt | kakī, producing hybrids. 

A compact, black-and-white stilt with long red legs and a long fine pointed black bill. Adult hybrid stilts have a black band of variable width across the breast. This can sometimes lead them to be mistaken for black stilt | kakī juveniles.

Their eggs are khaki-coloured with dark brown blotches.

pied stilt

More information

Conservation efforts

While they are a protected species and their overall numbers are declining, there is some concern around their breeding with kakī | black stilt, creating hybrids. While hybridisation can be regarded as a rapid form of adaptation under changing environmental conditions, this may not be the case with pied-stilt | poaka. See the research below or information on black stilt | kakī on this website.

References and research