Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 38/1 | 2001 | 1-25

  Follow-up and signification of the breeding by a pair of black-winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus) in Hesbaye region near Liège
Jortay, A.

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Article summary

In 1999, a pair of Black-winged Stilts successfully raised 3 fledglings in Lens-sur-Geer (Hesbaye region near Liège), in a sewage pond. This is the fourth breeding or attempt of breeding by the species in Wallonia. The two stilts arrived around may 23; the first egg was laid at the most 4 days later. Hatching occurred on june 20 or 21. The pair used three feeding areas covering 30, 180 and 220 m of shore, limiting itself to the smallest one, a shallow pool, around hatching (5 days). The time when the pulli left the nest was also when the parents started to use loud mobbing as alarm display. After leaving the site, around july 31st, the family group stayed for three weeks in the Hollogne-sur-Geer basins, 11.25 km to the south-west. The birds remained there until august 20th. The analysis of observations data for Black-winged Stilts in southern Belgium since 1960 shows a doubling per decade of the number of both observations and birds. Development of sewage basins may be the cause in Wallonia of the increasing presence of the Black-winged Stilts and its northward extension, a general phenomenon seen in western Europe. This is accompanied by the development and stabilisation of small breeding populations to the north of the main range, a phenomenon which has increased since the mid-eighties and seems to be related to climate warming. As in neighbouring regions, Wallonia seems to be favoured by its position in the migration axis of the species from its European population reservoir (Spain). The year 1999 was furthermore noticed for an important presence of stilts across north-western Europe, as were the years 1949, 1950 and 1958, when moderate invasions occurred.

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