American Avocet

Recurvirostra americana

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Avocets and Stilts (Recurvirostridae)

Code 4

AMAV

Code 6

RECAME

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The American Avocet is native to a range of approximately 2.5 million square kilometers. It breeds in wetlands from Alberta, Canada south to California, Texas, and central Mexico, and winters in wetlands and coastal areas of California, Texas, the southeastern USA, and Mexico south to Central America. The population of American Avocet is around 450,000 birds, and has not significantly declined in recent years. This species has a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

American Avocet: Long-legged shorebird with long, thin, upcurved bill and distinctive black-and-white back and sides. Head and neck are bright rust-brown during summer. Legs and feet are gray. Feeds on insects, crustaceans, and invertebrates. Strong direct flight with neck extended.

 

Range and Habitat

American Avocet: Breeds from interior Washington and British Columbia, east to Minnesota, and south to California and Texas. Winters on the west coast north to California, on the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the southern Atlantic coast. Preferred habitats include freshwater marshes and shallow, marshy lakes. Breeds locally in salt or brackish marshes; often moves to coasts in winter.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"wheep, wheep, wheep"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • In response to predators, they sometimes issues a series of call notes that gradually changes pitch, simulating the Doppler effect and thus making its approach seem faster than it actually is.
  • Nesting American Avocets aggressively attack predators, sometimes physically striking Northern Harriers and Common Ravens.
  • Their chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching. Day-old avocets can walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators.
  • Their nests are depressions on the sand or platforms of grass on mudflats. Should the water level rise, the breeding pair will raise the nest up to a foot or more with sticks, weeds, bones and feathers to keep the eggs above water.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X