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American Avocet

Silhouette ShorebirdsShorebirds
American AvocetRecurvirostra americana
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Recurvirostridae

Basic Description

The American Avocet takes elegance to a new level. This long-legged wader glides through shallow waters swishing its slender, upturned bill from side to side to catch aquatic invertebrates. It dons a sophisticated look for summer with a black-and-white body and a rusty head and neck. During the winter the head and neck turn a grayish white, but the bird loses none of its elegance as it forages along coastal waters or rests while standing on one leg.

More ID Info
image of range map for American Avocet
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Finding an American Avocet means getting to the right habitat. In shallow wetlands, their black-and-white bodies, long, upturned bill, and elegant profile stand out among the other wading birds. They generally forage in shallow water with little vegetation to hide them, and they nest in areas almost lacking vegetation altogether. They breed around wetlands in dry parts of interior North America, but during the winter, many of them head to coastal lagoons, salt ponds, and mudflats. Here they often forage with the smaller Black-necked Stilt.

Other Names

  • Avoceta Americana (Spanish)
  • Avocette d'Amérique (French)
  • Cool Facts