Wildlife in Italy: Knight of Italy Himantopus himantopus L.

Wildlife in Italy: Knight of Italy Himantopus himantopus L.

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Caradriformi
Family: Recurvirostridi
Kind: stilt
Species: H. himantopus L.

The Cavaliere dItalia (in English: black-winged stilt) is a limicolous bird, unmistakable for the black and white dress and for the long red legs; it usually frequents the shallow free waters of lagoons, salt marshes, marshes and artificial lakes; it is a migrant who winters in African countries and in the spring returns to nest in many wetlands of Italy where it finds suitable islands for the construction of nests.

Knight of Italy - Himantopus himantopus L. (photo Till Riecke)

Knight of Italy - Himantopus himantopus L. (photo Gino Santini - Padule di Fucecchio)

Pullo of the previous year by Cavaliere dItalia - Himantopus himantopus L (photo Camilla Gargini)

Chicks of Italian Knight - Himantopus himantopus L (photo Camilla Gargini)

Distinctive characters

Length 34 - 38 cm
Wingspan 67 - 83 cm
Average weight 160 - 200 grams

It has a black beak, thin and straight, and red legs, similar to stilts, very long.
Black and white plumage, almost equal in the male and female. The black of adults is replaced in young people by a brown coloring. Dorsally sand-colored down jacket with small dark spots and ventrally white.
Walk erect on the legs that in flight protrude beyond the tail for a length similar to that of the body.


Voice: a sharp and repeated cuip.
It nests in colonies in marshy environments and on the edge of inland brackish lakes.
In the nest, built on the ground with twigs and clay, 3-4 yellow-green eggs spotted with dark brown are laid.
The incubation, which lasts 25-26 days, and the breeding (about a month) of the offspring are carried out by both parents.
Feeding: mainly insects, but also small molluscs and worms.
Migration in April-May and July-September.

Video: Northern Italy Treasures: Verona u0026 Lake Como (August 2022).