Avocet birds are the member of Recurvirostridae and Recurvirostra genus. Genus name Recurvirostra is derived from Latin word “recurvus” which means “curved backwards”. The common name avocet is derived from Italian name “avosetta”. There are four species of Avocet birds. These include Recurvirostra americana (American avocet), Recurvirostra andina (Andean avocet), Recurvirostra avosetta (Pied avocet) and Recurvirostra novaehollandiae (Red necked avocet). They are the species of shorebirds.
These birds have contrasting plumages, long legs which are blue in colour and long bills that are black in colour. They live in marshes. They usually feed by sweeping their bills back and forth. They feed on insects, fish and crustaceans. They are monogamous species.
They have average size of about 42 centimeters to 45 centimeters or 16 inches to 18 inches, average weight of about 140 grams to 400 grams, average wingspan of about 29 inches to 31 inches. They exhibit top speed of about 25 miles per hour.
Some predators of Avocet birds include cats, dogs and stouts. These birds are listed as least concerned species. Recently their population has become stable. They can live up to 15 years.
Avocet birds are monogamous. They mate for life. They exhibit certain courtship rituals including bowing and crouching. The American avocet bird is the only species among the four species of avocet birds whose plumage colour changes to pink or red during mating.
They form nests near water bodies in loosely organized colonies. The nest is built within depressions. It consists of pebbles, soil and debris. They can also build foot tall mound nests in the case of rising of water level. After the formation of nests, females lay 4 eggs. Both the parents perform the task of incubation for about 3 to 4 weeks. They young ones become independent immediately after hatching because they have downy feathers. They can fly at 4 to 5 weeks of their age.
Avocet birds use loud calls for communication purposes. These calls include pleeet, wheet and kleeap. They are usually very noisy. During courtship, they exhibit certain displays to communicate with each other. These include bowing, crouching and dancing.
Avocet birds are carnivores. They feed on small crustaceans, insects and fish. They can also eat midge larvae, brine flies and brine shrimp. They often sweep their bills back and forth in shallow water to find food. They can also find food by plunging head into water.
Some facts about avocet birds are as follows,
- The four species of Avocet birds are the member of Recurvirostridae family.
- The most distinctive features of these birds are their striking plumages and long curved beaks.
- They inhabit temperate wetlands.
- They are carnivores. They can eat insects, fish and crustaceans.
- They live in the form of flocks.
- Their age of molting is about 1 month.
- They exhibit long and sinewy legs. This makes them look like walking on stilts.
- Certain predators of avocet birds include stouts, dogs and cats.
- They are listed as least concerned species by IUCN.
- These birds prefer salty habitats over freshwater habitats.
- They are sometimes confused with their closely related species known as stilts. Stilts have longer legs which are red or orange in colour as compared to Avocet birds legs which are gray or black in colour.
- Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
Avocet birds are widely distributed. They are found near flats, beaches, lakes and ponds throughout the entire world. The four species of Avocet birds are distributed in different locations. American avocet birds are found in Western United States, Mexico and Atlantic Coast. Andean avocet birds are found in Pacific South America. Piet avocet birds are found in coastal Europe, South Asia and Africa. Red necked avocet birds are found in Australia.
How Tall Is An American Avocet?
The American avocet birds are large shorebirds. They are 16 inches to 20 inches tall.
Is The American Avocet Endangered?
American avocet birds had been recorded as endangered species in 19th and early 20th century because of major threats like habitat destruction and degradation. However, they have made a comeback because of the protection by US migratory bird act. Now they are listed as “least concern” species by International Union for Conservation of Nature.
What Animal Eats Avocet?
Some of the common predators of Avocet birds include skunks, foxes and weasels. They choose their nesting sites carefully so that they can be protected from predators. These birds can become aggressive because of the protection of their nests and eggs.
How Do Avocets Eat?
Avocet birds sweep their bills back and forth in shallow water for catching prey. They can feed in groups containing 100 individual birds. They are extremely good swimmers and perform tip up like dabbling ducks in deep water.
Can Avocets Fly?
Avocet birds can fly at 4 to 5 weeks of their age. The average wingspan of these birds is 29 inches to 31 inches.
Do Avocets Eat Fish?
Yes they do eat fish. Their diet includes aquatic insects, crustaceans and fish.
Avocet birds are wading birds that are found near freshwater and saltwater bodies. They are well known for their unique features like their long sinewy legs, striking plumages and long, curved beaks. They are closely related to stilts and other birds that live near water bodies. They are now least concerned species because of the recent comeback.