, somewhat godwitlike bill, more upturned in the female. This and the striking white and black pattern make this bird unique. In breeding plumage, the head and neck are pinkish tan; in winter this is replaced with pale gray. Avocets feed with a scything s
weep of the head and bill.
Listen to the sound of American Avocet
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||68||cm||wingspan max.:||76||cm|
|size min.:||43||cm||size max.:||47||cm|
|incubation min.:||26||days||incubation max.:||27||days|
|fledging min.:||1||days||fledging max.:||1||days|
spread on shallow waters and extensive mudflats, both along coast and in the interior. Typically in very open situations, with little vegetation. Inland, often favors salty or alkaline lakes more than fresh waters.
eggs or young are directly threatened, adult avocets may fly straight at an intruder, calling loudly.
Nest: Site is on bare open ground, not far from water. Nest (built by both sexes) may be a simple scrape in soil, a scrape lined with pebbles and other debris, or a mound built up to more than a foot tall.
Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5. Olive-buff, blotched with brown and black. Incubation is by both parents, 23-25 days.
Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching, find all their own food. Both parents tend young. Age at first flight about 4-5 weeks.
Feeds on abundant tiny creatures that live in or near shallow water. Diet includes many aquatic insects, small crustaceans. On western lakes may feed heavily on brine shrimp and brine flies.
Behavior: Forages in a variety of w
ays. Often sweeps head from side to side, with upturned tip of bill barely submerged in shallow water, finding food by touch. Also picks items from surface of water or mud, or plunges head into water; sometimes snatches flying insects as they pass.
Most migrate to the coast (or to valleys of California) in winter. Some migrate well to the east, wintering along much of Atlantic Coast, with flocks of non-breeders remaining through the summer there.