Recurvirostra Avosetta

The avocet is a slender wading shore bird with long pointed wings and a short tail. It has long legs with webbed feet, a long neck and a long, upcurved bill and grows up to 19" long. The plumage is a distinctive white with black wings. The American avocet’s head, neck and breast is a rust-cinnamon color in summer and turns white in the winter. It makes a sharp wheek or kleet sound, excitedly repeated. The avocet feeds by sweeping its bill through shallow water and marshland looking for crustaceans, insects and mollusks.

There are four species of avocet: one in Europe, Asia and Africa, one in North America, one in Australia, and one in South America. The Northern species are migratory in winter. At one time avocets were hunted and nearly became extinct but are now protected.

They usually lay four olive and brown spotted eggs in dry isolated places. These are incubated by both parents.   The young are nidifugous (leave the nest soon after hatching) and are tended by both parents.

 

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