Recurvirostra americana
(American Avocet)


Order: Charadriiformes
Order Description: Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns
Family: Recurvirostridae
Family Description: Avocets, Stilts

Physical Description:
15 1/2-20" (41-51 cm). A tall shorebird with distinctively upcurved bill. Adult has broad black and white stripes on back and inner half of upper wing; primaries black; belly and tail region white; head, neck, and breast light cinnamon in breeding plumageClick word for definition and dusky white in winter; legs long, thin, gray; black bill very long, very fine, distinctly upswept.

Similar Species- Black-necked Stilt, Godwits, Willet

Song:
Broadcasts ringing, repeated kyip calls.

Distribution:
Breeds from parts of southern Canada and Minnesota, south locally to southern California, central Nevada, northern Utah, south-central Colorado, southern New Mexico and San Luis Potosi, and east to central Kansas and coastal Texas. Nonbreeders may summer in usual winter range. Winters from California and southern Texas, south through Mexico, casually in Central America, and locally in southern Florida.

Habitat:
Found in lowland marshes, mudflats, ponds, alkaline lakes, and estuaries.

Diet:
Eats variety of aquatic insects and their larvae, crustaceans, and seeds of aquatic plants.

Ecology:
Nests in depression on ground, or on gravel, mud or vegetation. When breeding, nests in loose colonies. Colony may engage in group distraction displays or mob predators. Individuals walk slowly through water and often feed in flocksClick word for definition that number 12-300 birds. May dive or extend head under surface of water while feeding. May forage by swimming in deep water using their partially webbed feet to swim.

Reproduction:
Breeding begins in mid-April in southern range, to mid-May in north. Both parents incubateClick word for definition 3-4 eggs for 23- 25 days. Young are precocialClick word for definition and tended by both adults, and become independent in about 6 wk.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNND02010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.