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American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Recurvirostra americana
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    The American avocet is a migratory bird that flies to western North America for the spring and summer and then to the southern United States and northern Central America for winter.
  • Status

    The American avocet is listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is currently protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.
  • Habitat

    These shorebirds are commonly found in mudflats, ponds, wetlands and freshwater marshes and swamps.
  • Niche

    You will find these birds in social groups as they are colonial nesters. They may be seen in flocks of several hundred and commonly feed in dense groups. These birds are most active during dawn and dusk. The American avocet is important for aquatic ecosystems because they eat aquatic invertebrates, shrimp, crustaceans and aquatic vegetation and seeds.
  • Life History

    The American avocet is monogamous. Pairs perform courtship displays between April and June before nests are built on the shore. Nests are scrapes in the ground that are lined with dry grass and mud chips. Females lay three-five olive colored eggs with brown and black spots. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for 22-29 days and continue caring for the chicks together until fledging occurs after 28-35 days. Life expectancy is approximately nine years.
  • Special Adaptations

    These water birds find most of their food in or near the water. They will swoop their long, thin, open bills back and forth in the water to catch insects and some aquatic crustaceans.


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