American Avocet
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General description.

The American Avocet is a stunning wading bird with black and white patterned back and wings; during breeding, his head and neck are pinkish-tan, which turns to all white in winter. The Avocet is recognized by his long, thin, upward turned bill, which he swishes side to side, like the spoonbill, through the water when feeding. His long legs are uniquely blue.

Breeding habits.

Breeding takes place in freshwater wetlands of the western United States and Canada and parts of the coasts of California and Texas.

Calls or song.

This bird repeats a melodic "kleet". The alarm call, flight call and a contact call all sounding similar.

Population and distribution.

The American Avocet is rarely seen east of the Mississippi. However, early in the 19th Century, small colonies bred in New Jersey, but these were hunted to near extinction. Now fully protected, the bird's numbers are increasing, and the Avocet may be seen in the East once more. It winters in Mexico and Guatemala, and somtimes finds its way across the Continent to Florida.

Nesting habits.

The male Avocet builds a nest, on a beach or mudflat, to fit his mate. He makes it in a depression, which he lines with grass. The female then lays 4 olive-buff eggs, spotted black and brown.

Similar birds:

Black-necked Stilt Photo Black-necked Stilt
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