American Avocet

photo courtesy NEBRASKALand – NGPC

Recurvirostra americana
L 18″ (46 cm).

Song or calls:
Ringing “kleep, kleep.”

Description: Sexes similar. Very long gray legs and long upcurved bill are distinctive. Breeding plumage shows cinnamon colored head and neck, gray in winter plumage. Wings and back have a black and white pattern. Juveniles have cinnamon wash on head and neck.

american avocet
Found in ponds and marshes with sparsely vegetated shorelines. Nests placed on mudflats, sand bars and islands with little or no cover.

Where in Nebraska: Common regular spring and fall migrant west and central, rare east. Common, locally abundant, regular breeder west and north-central, rare casual elsewhere.

Field Notes: Male’s bill is straighter and longer than female’s

Fun Facts: American Avocets have a “recurved” bill, meaning the bill curves upward rather than downward.

American Avocet - photo by Josef Kren American Avocet - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)