The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a long-distance migratory wader common in Europe, North Africa, Asia and Australia. Diets of Black-winged Stilt chicks collected from breeding sites in southwestern Taiwan between April and September 1999–2001 were investigated. The contents of 305 stomachs were examined and 12,176 food items categorized into seven classes, 17 orders, 39 families and 48 species of animals. Prey importance was determined by the index of Acosta (I'a); i.e. the sum of the relative frequency of occurrence, relative abundance and relative estimated volume. The mean abundance and estimated volume of animal contents per stomach were 39 ± 6 items and 80 ± 10 mm3, respectively. The main aquatic invertebrate prey (I'a > 10) were water scavenger beetles (Hydrophilidae), biting midges (Ceratopogonidae), chironomid midges (Chironomidae), shore flies (Ephydridae), house flies (Muscidae) and brine shrimp (Artemiidae). The total relative frequency of occurrence, relative abundance and relative estimated volume of these six families were over 64%, 87% and 72%, respectively. The major prey size range of stilt chicks was 2.7–7.4 mm3, which comprised only 18% of the total relative abundance of diet items while contributing 42% of the total estimated diet volume. Two alien (an Oreochromis hybrid and Gambusia affinis) and one indigenous (Yongeichthys caninus) fish species were also important contributors to the relative estimated volume (17% in total). The findings suggest that water-level management may improve the feeding habitats of stilts.
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Vol. 32 • No. 4