Birds with long legs are carnivore birds living in swamps, lakes, areas with a high level of humidity, and near water, in general.

They feed on the frogs, fishes, insects, invertebrates, and other delicatessens the mud can offer.

The long legs help them keep their feathers outside the water and walk through the sludge when they seek food.

There are more species of birds with long legs, but in this article, I will present to you ten of the most interesting long-legged birds.

Ten Birds With Long Legs

White-Crowned Lapwing

White-Crowned Lapwing
Credit: @rliechti

Also known as Vanellus albiceps after its scientific Latin name, White-crowned Lapwing is a medium-sized wader, distinctive because of its long, yellow “mustache” called wattles, white belly and crown, grey head, and long greenish legs.

White-crowned Lapwing can be found around the vast rivers of tropical Africa, where it prefers sandbanks, but it also manages with the comfort given by smaller streams.

The diet of White-crowned Lapwing is formed out of insects and small invertebrates, and it’s known to feed in small flocks outside the breeding season.

The White-crowned Lapwing’s nest is a scrape in the ground, done in open sand or splinters, where it lies 2-3 eggs, and it defends it fiercely and with a lot of noise.

(They are known to be pretty silent outside the mating season.)

Fun Fact: Although it has only between 28 and 32 cm and 161 and 214 grams, White-crowned Lapwing defends its nest and younglings even against hippopotamus.

Common Redshank

Common Redshank
Credit: @hannaliisa.naturephotos

Common Redshank, known by its scientific Latin name as Tringa totanus, is a marbles brown wader with long orange-reddish legs and a red beak with a black tip.

The preferred territories of Common Redshank are fresh and coastal wetlands from temperate Eurasia, but being a migratory bird, in wintertime can be found on the Mediterranean shores, on the Atlantic coast of Europe, and South Asia.

Common Redshank feeds on invertebrates (insects, small crustaceans, mollusks, worms), after which it’s probing with its long beak, deep in the mud.

At the beginning of the mating season, Common Redshank builds more fake nests, and in one of them is laid up to 4 eggs.

Common Redshank males and females are loyal to the territory (they build the new nest within 50 meters from the last nest) and are faithful.

Fun Fact: The female Common Redshank can lay the eggs in more than one nest, mainly because of disturbances and because it gets… confused by so many nests.

Pied Stilt

Pied Stilt
Credit: @sharonjonesphotographydarwin

Pied Stilt, also called white-headed stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus), is a shorebird of about 36 cm, with shinny greenish-black on the back of the neck, the head, and the upper sides of the wings, and with long pink legs.

Being a waterbird, Pied Stilt can be found near waters in vast areas in Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, New Zeeland, Papua New Guinea (for breeding species).

Non-breeding populations of Pied Stilt can be found in Sri Lanka, Phillippines, Brunei, Palau, South Kalimantan, West and East Nusa Tenggara, East Timor, and New Guinea.

Pied Stilt is also known to be a vagrant to Japan and Christmas Island.

The waterbird Pied Stilt feeds principally with mollusks and aquatic insects, after which it probes with its beak in the sediments of shallow waters.

Pied Stilt is a friendly bird (sometimes, in New Zeeland, it formes mixt flocks with Black Stilt) and does a repeating yelping cry during flight.

Pied Stilt is seemingly attracted to the vicinity of where red duckweed flourishes and nests in areas of sand or alluviums of estuaries, in dry riverbeds, on a flat shore, or grassy fields near the sea.

A superficial but well-camouflaged scrape in the ground represents the nest in which Pied Stilt lays four eggs.

Despite the nest’s camouflage, adult Pied Stilt risk exposing the nests because they fly in circles above them, making loud distress noises.

Luckily, the younglings are provided with excellent camouflage and the ability to “freeze” when they are startled.

Fun Fact: A Pied Stilt parent bird can fake a leg injury to lure intruders away from the nest and chicks.

Comb-Crested Jacana

Comb-Crested Jacana
Credit: @david_stowe

The marvelously odd shorebird Comb-crested Jacana is also known as “lily trotter”, “lotusbird”, or Irediparra gallinacea (by its scientific Latin name).

Comb-crested Jacana is unique because of its enormously large feet (on already long legs), which allows it to walk on lilies.

The plumage is also spectacular, with a black crown and back of the neck, a red wattle of flesh over its forehead and forecrown, white face, throat, and belly, and a very wide black stripe on the lower chest.

Comb-crested Jacana lives in vast freshwater wetlands, swamps, and lakes, waters with abundant floating vegetation, such as water-lilies, which form a “floor” on which the bird can walk.

Comb-crested Jacana feeds on insects and seeds it finds on the floating vegetation it walks on.

The mating behavior of Comb-crested Jacana involves the male building a thin nest on the floating or arising vegetation in which the female lays four eggs.

Being a polyandrous species, the male is the one that incubates and takes care of the younglings for the short period they need before they fly.

Fun Fact: Because of its ability to walk on the water’s surface, Comb-crested Jacana is also known as Jesus bird.

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill
Credit: @morepork_snapshots

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea Regia) is a large white wading bird with a black, spoon-shaped beak and long black legs.

This royal wonder has been seen in mudflats, marshes of fresh saltwater, and wetlands of Australia, New Zeeland, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

Royal Spoonbill is a carnivore bird and swipes through the water with its unusual beak, catching little animals from the mud (fish, shellfish, crabs, shrimps, snails, amphibians).

It has been observed to examine aquatic plants to catch prey living on the plant above the water (such as spiders).

The Royal Spoonbill becomes a true spectacle in the breeding season, growing white feathers from the back of their heads and colored spots appearing on the beak/face.

The female Royal Spoonbill lays two or three eggs in a tree on an open floor of sticks, which is the nest.

Fun Fact: Royal Spoonbills are so sensitive to derangement that in Australia, entire populations are known to have abandoned their eggs after a slightly upset.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo
Credit: @villaplana_jesus

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus Roseus) is the largest species of living flamingo, with pinkish-white plumage, red wing coverts, black flight feathers, a pink beak with black tip, and long pink legs.

The Greater Flamingo lives in tidal flats and shallow coastal salty lagoons in a few regions in Africa,  southern Asia, the Middle East, and southern Europe.

Nourishment consists of all the microscopic organisms, algae, seeds, small shrimps, and mollusks filtered when the bird sucks water through its beak after stirring it with its feet.

Greater Flamingo feeds heading down and doesn’t need to raise its head to swallow food, probably due to the mobility of its upper jaw, which is not fixed to its skull.

The breeding season of flamingos is not related to specific calendar dates, but it depends on the rainfall levels.

For the Greater Flamingo to start breeding, a large quantity of rain is required to provide them with the needed food supply.

When that condition is fulfilled, the monogamous pairs of Greater Flamingo build together a volcano-alike nest on a mud mound, where the female lays one chalky egg.

Fun Fact: The pink colorations of Greater Flamingo come from carotenoids found in the bird’s uropygial gland and organisms living in its feeding grounds.

Also Read: Can Flamingos Fly: How Far And How High?

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret
Credit: @erickson_kris

Reddish Egret (Egretta Rufescenes) is a heron of medium size, with long bluish-black legs, a long neck, and a long pinkish beak that ends with a black tip.

The plumage, however, is a bit unusual because, while there are no differences between the sexes of Reddish Egret species, there are two distinguished color morphs.

Therefore, Reddish Egret comes in two colors: one dark morph, with a blue marble body, reddish head and neck, and saggy feathers; the second morph has entirely white plumage.

Reddish Egret lives in salty and mid-salty water wetlands of the Gulf Coast of Texas, southern Florida, some regions of Louisiana, and rarely along the Gulf Coast of Mexico, Baja California, or West Indies.

The feeding behavior of Reddish Egret is quite interesting because the bird hunts in shallow waters where it can and does stalk its prey visually.

Way more active than other egrets and herons, Reddish Egret runs when hunting and uses its wings shadow to decrease the shine of the water so it can catch fish.

The Reddish Egret breed in tropical swamps on coastal islands, where it nests in colonies with other herons.

In the noisy mating ritual, the Reddish Egret shakes its head to greet each other, raise its neck, back, and crest feather, clack the beak, and then chase each other and fly in circles.

Reddish Egret lays 3-6 eggs on platforms of twigs, in trees or bushes.

Fun Fact: Reddish Egret is one of the most active herons and has often been spotted on the go.

Purple Heron

Purple Heron
Credit: @prlgcplln

Purple Heron (Ardea Purpurea) is a large wading bird with dark reddish-brown plumage, dark grey back, with a black stripe down the back of the neck, which ends in a thin dangling crest, strong beak, and long legs.

We find Purple Heron in the dense vegetation of marshes, lagoons, and lakes of Europe, Asia, and Africa, where it also breeds.

Purple Heron hunts in shallow waters at dusk and dawn, and either it waits still or slowly follows its prey( fish, small mammals, tiny amphibians, other nestling birds, snakes, lizards, snails, and insects).

The low bushes close to large lakes or vast wetlands are the preferred breeding spot for Purple Heron, where it builds a solid nest, negligently pulling together dry twigs, dead reeds, leaves, and any other “materials” it can find.

The female Purple Heron lays 4-5 eggs at intervals of three days, and both parents share the incubation, which can begin with the first egg or when there are all 5 of them.

Fun Fact: When parents come with food, the younglings drag them down by beaks to take the food directly from their beaks, or adults regurgitate it in the nest.

Black-Tailed Godwit

Black-Tailed Godwit
Credit: @johnmrph00

Black-Tailed Godwit (Limosa Limosa) is a large shorebird with an orange head, neck, and chest during breeding, drab grey-brown during winter, and a distinguishing black and white wing stripe.

The bird has a black tail, long neck, long dark-grey legs, and a long beak that gets yellowish or orange-pink with a dark base during breeding (the base is pink in winter).

Black-tailed Godwit prefers inland wetlands, such as river valley fens, floods, and swamps at the edge of large lakes, humid steppes, and marshes.

When it comes to feeding method and menu, Black-tailed Godwit submerges its head completely, probing frenetically, up to 36 times per minute, eating invertebrates and, occasionally, fish eggs, frog roe, and amphibian larva.

During migration and winter, Black-tailed Godwit also feeds with aquatic plants.

Single Black-tailed Godwit males defend the temporary mating territory, and they show off in flights to attract a mate.

Black-tailed Godwit is mainly monogamous and, despite spending winter separately, partners remarry with the old pairs within an average of three days since arrival.

The nest is made a bit further from the wooing territory, in short vegetation, and it’s not more than a shallow scrape in the ground, in which eggs may be covered with verdure by the incubating parent.

The Black-tailed female lays 3-6 eggs, and both parents incubate them for 22 to 24 days.

Fun fact: When Black-tailed Godwit couples reunite at the beginning of the mating season, if one partner doesn’t show up on time, their spouse will “divorce”.

Red-Wattled Lapwing

Red-Wattled Lapwing
Credit: @suresh_dejo

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus Indicus) is a large wader with a bright brown, purple-greenish shine on wings and back, a black head, and a black bib on each side of the neck.

The bird has a short tail with a black tip, a red fleshy wattle in front of each eye, a red beak with a black tip, and long yellow legs.

Red-wattled Lapwing likes to inhabit open grasslands, dried waterbeds, plowed fields, and small towns buildings cracks from West Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

For the meal, Red-wattled Lapwing prefers insects, snails, and other invertebrates, disturbing the soft soil with its strong yellow legs to find it.

The breeding season lasts from March to August, and the wooing ritual involves the male Red-wattled Lapwing swelling its plumage, pointing its beak up, and then mingling around the female.

The female Red-wattled Lapwing lays 3-4 black dotted eggs in a ground scratch or shallow dent, decorated with pebbles, goat, or rabbit droppings.

Both males and females incubate the eggs, but it has been observed that males take over the incubation during the hot hours of noon.

Fun Fact: Red-wattled Lapwing soaks their belly feathers to store water for their younglings or chill the eggs when the temperature is too high.

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