Shorelines Animals

Class: Aves: Birds Diet: Insects
Order: Charadriiformes: Auks, Waders, Laris
Size: 42 cm (16 1/2 in)
Family: Recurvirostridae: Avocets Conservation Status: Non-threatened
Scientific Name: Recurvirostra avosetta Habitat: mud flats, estuaries, sandbanks
Range: Europe, western and central Asia; northern populations winter in western Africa and southern Asia

Size of AvocetAn unmistakable bird, the avocet has striking black and white plumage and a long bill that curves upward. In flight, the long legs usually project beyond the tail. Avocets feed on insects, small aquatic animals and some plant matter, all of which they find by sweeping their bills from side to side at the surface of mud or shallow water. In deeper water, the avocet dips its head below the surface and will swim and up-end like a duck.  Avocets breed colonially; pairs mating after displays involving both partners. The nest is usually a simple scrape near water in which the female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and later guard their chicks against predators. Juveniles have some brownish plumage but are otherwise similar to adults. The American avocet, R. americana, resembles this avocet, but has cinnamon plumage on head, neck and breast during the breeding season.

Range of Avocet
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