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American Avocet

Recurvirostra americana


Long slender black bill. White and black wings, blue legs and feet.. Thanks to Ava, I also found out they are often referred to as "blue shanks" due to the color of their legs and feet.


Was seen in the fresh water pools (brackish water) at St. Marks. I have never seen these shore birds before. American Avocet: Breeds from interior Washington, Saskatchewan, and Minnesota south to California and Texas. Winters on the west coast north to California, on the Gulf Coast, and in Florida. Is a regular fall visitor on the Atlantic coast. Preferred habitats include freshwater marshes and shallow, marshy lakes. Breeds locally in salt or brackish marshes; often moves to coasts in winter.


According to this site, they only winter here in Florida - these must be late migraters Interesting facts - from page above: INTERESTING FACTS In response to predators, they sometimes issues a series of call notes that gradually changes pitch, simulating the Doppler effect and thus making its approach seem faster than it actually is. Nesting American Avocets aggressively attack predators, sometimes physically striking Northern Harriers and Common Ravens. Their chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching. Day-old avocets can walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators. Their nests are depressions on the sand or platforms of grass on mudflats. Should the water level rise, the breeding pair will raise the nest up to a foot or more with sticks, weeds, bones and feathers to keep the eggs above water.

1 species ID suggestions

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 6 years ago
American Avocet
Recurvirostra americana American Avocet


ceherzog 6 years ago

Hi Mary: Will you add this & any other shorebird spottings you have to my new mission: Shorebirds of the Gulf Coast? I'd appreciate it!

MaryEvans2 6 years ago

Thank you Anne Marie :)

I love avocets. Beautiful photos.

MaryEvans2 6 years ago

Thank you Francis and Arun

Arun 6 years ago

Nice Spotting !!!

MaryEvans2 6 years ago

Thank you Gerardo :)

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 6 years ago

Grate series !

MaryEvans2 6 years ago

Thank you ever so much Ava. Myself and a co-worker have been Googling for this one most of the day, and couldn't find it using colors or markings. Strange, Cornell shows these in "non breeding" plumage, while Wikipedia says they are in Winter Plumage..Going to keep my eyes open for more of these beauties.

Florida, USA

Lat: 30.10, Long: -84.19

Spotted on Apr 15, 2012
Submitted on Apr 16, 2012

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