American avocet in exhibit

American Avocet

Scientific Name

Recurvirostra americana

Class

Aves

Order

Charadriiformes

Range

Western North America through northern Central America

Habitat

Beaches, mudflats, and ponds

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
american avocet in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

American avocets are long-legged shorebirds with a long, thin bill that curves upward and distinctive black-and-white stripes on their back and sides. These birds got their colloquial name, "blue shank," from their bluish-gray legs and feet. During breeding season, their head and neck are a pinkish-tan color, and during the winter, they turn grayish-white. They are most active during dawn and dusk.

Interesting Fact 1

American avocets are colonial nesters and often travel in flocks of several hundred.

Interesting Fact 2

They swoop their long, thin bills back and forth in the water to catch insects and aquatic crustaceans.

Interesting Fact 3

Females lay three to five olive-colored eggs with brown and black spots.

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

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