Family: RECURVIROSTRIDAE (Bonaparte 1854)

Genera: Three genera are recognised.

  • Himantopus – Latin; himantopus from Greek himas , himantos strap, thong: pous foot. small; (Brisson 1760).
  • Cladothynchus – Greek; klados thin branch: rhunkhos bill. (Gray, G. 1840).
  • Recurvirostra – Latin; recurvus bent, curved backwards (recurvare to bend): rostrum bill (Linnaeus 1758).
  • Europe: Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet
  • Africa: Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet.
  • Asia: Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet.
  • Australasia: White-headed Stilt, Black Stilt, Banded Stilt and Red-necked Avocet.
  • North America; Black-necked Stilt (and subspecies knudseni on Hawai’i) and American Avocet.
  • Central and South America: Black-necked Stilt, White-backed Stilt, American Avocet and Andean Avocet.
Ten species within the Recurvirostridae comprising five species of stilt in the genus Himantopus, a single species genus with Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus and four species of avocet in the genus Recurvirostris.

H. m. mexicanus (Müller 1776)
H. m. knudseni (Stejneger 1887)

  • Black-winged Stilt H. himantopus formally and currently in some cases, considered to be a global species with all black-and-white forms as subspecies.
  • Black Stilt H. novaezelandiae generally accepted as a separate species although Seebohm considered it to be a colour morph of H. himantopus.
  • Subspecies knudseni, originally named H. knudseni by Stejneger, is the only form that universally still retains subspecific status in this group.
  • Ibisbill Ibidorhynchus struthersii has sometimes be subsumed into the Recurvisrostridae but currently has single species family status.
Few recorded but known to exist from the early Cenozoic era (from 66 million years ago to present).

  • Himantopus olsoni  – (Bickart 1990) Late Miocene
  • Recurvirostra sanctaeneboulae (Mourer-Chauviré 1978) Upper Eocene
  • BirdLife International: IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/03/2020
  • del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliot & Jordi Sargatal: Handbook of the Birds of the World – Vol. 3 (1996)
  • Hayman, Peter, John Marchant & Tony Prater: Shorebirds – An identification guide to the waders of the world (1986)
  • Jobling, James A.: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010)
  • Seebohm, Henry: The Geographical Distribution of the Family Charadriidae, or, The Plovers, Sandpipers, Snipes, and Their Allies (1888)
  • Wikipedia: List of fossil bird genera

Click on an image or links above for more information about the individual species.

Genus Recurvirostris

Avocets and Stilts Andean Avocet
ANDEAN AVOCET – Least Concern
Avocets and Stilts Pied Avocet
PIED AVOCET – Least Concern

Avocets and Stilts Red-necked Avocet
Red-necked Avocet – Least Concern

Genus Cladorhynchus

Avocets and Stilts - Banded Stilt
BANDED STILT – Least Concern

Genus Himantopus

Avocets and Stilts Black Stilt - Kakī
BLACK STILT – Critically Endangered
Avocets and Stilts - Black-necked Stilt
Avocets and Stilts - Black-winged Stilt
White-backed Stilt ©