Hawaiian stilt

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni / Ae‘o
Hawaiian stilt standing tall in blue water
The ae‘o is a slender wading bird that grows up to 15 inches in length. Black coloration extends from the forehead down the back of the neck and throughout the back and white covers the front of the face down the front of the neck and underbelly. Their pink, long legs are almost as long as the bird’s body.
The onset of ae‘o breeding season is when water level in the ponds recede and mudflats are exposed, usually in late March-early April. Four brown speckled eggs are laid and incubated approximately 24 days. Chicks resemble their eggs with brown and off-white speckles until they obtain feathers similar to the adults.

Ae‘o are vocal even during the nonbreeding season. They actively defend their nests and chicks with calls and dive-bombing to detract the predator or disturbances.

Ae‘o are the most vulnerable to nonnative mammalian and avian predators (cattle egrets) and are easily disturbed by human activities.

Facts About Hawaiian stilt


Aquatic invertebrates and small fish


Exposed mudflats and low islands with adjacent water (fresh, brackish, or salt water) and vegetation