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The causes of mortality, injury and illness in captive populations of the endangered Black stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae between 1979 and 1993 are described. Each year on average, 5%) of the adult stock die from trauma-related injuries and 5% from other causes including aspergillosis, heart defects and stress. Fledging success of chicks was 82% losses being attributed to malnutrition, faulty incubation of eggs, bacterial infection, poor parenting, accidental death and central nervous system disorders. Mortality is compared with values published for other waders in captivity. Fledging success is similar to that reported elsewhere, although adult mortality from trauma may be higher in Black stilts. The presence of harriers Circus aeruginosus approximans and humans around breeding aviaries isolated from public viewing is thought to contribute to trauma-related injuries and death.