Face to face: Himantopus himantopus

Himantopus himantopus

Double doubles.

So yeah, the long awaited bird content is just actually me kicking off a new section for the naturalistic photographs me and my father occasionally take on excursions. “What a HUGE let down” I hear you whine. Be patient, my friends, and also don’t expect too much, since we started this new hobby relatively recently (less than a year) and the pictures aren’t certainly of National Geographic quality. These guys are black-winged stilt, Himantopus himantopus, photographed in april 2011 in one of the many protected swamps in the territory around Bologna, the northern italian city where I live. They are very common in every period of the year here in Italy (their italian name, “Cavaliere d’Italia”, means “Knight of Italy”). They’re part of the Charadrii, usually small or medium sized birds with long legs and long beaks, both features useful to hunt small aquatic animals in the shallow waters of wetlands and shores. In H. himantopus, males have usually a more intense shade of black on their heads and wings than females, so in this photo the bird in the foreground is probably a male and the one in the background *might* be a female (you can never be too sure).

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