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Sunday, December 10, 2017

JUVENILE BLACK STILTS OR KAKI, LAKE PUKAKI AREA, CANTERBURY REGION, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

   We can ID this stilt as an immature Black Stilt or Kaki by its very long pinkish/reddish legs; long, slender, black bill and black and white plumage.  Juvenile Black Stilts in their first winter plumage have a black back, smudgy grey hind neck  and variable dark markings on the flanks.  This plumage darkens in their second summer molt and by mid-summer they are predominantly black. The Black Stilts in these photos are juveniles in various stages of development. 
   The Black Stilt is endemic to New Zealand and is the world's rarest wading bird: less than 100 adults survive in the wild.  They currently breed only in the MacKenzie Basin on South Island.
   The Black Stilt is a new species to our Photographic Life List, which now stands at 753.