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Pied Avocet

About Pied Avocet

Long-legged wader with slender upcurved bill and webbed feet. Plumage mainly white, with black on crown and nape extending to bill and just below the eye, and black bands on wings and wingtips. Bluish-gray legs; black bill, and brown eyes.

The Pied Avocet breeds in the spring. It makes it nest by a shallow scrape on bare ground or in short vegetation near the water’s edge. The nest is unlined or thinly lined with dead plant material. This bird lays 3-5 pale brownish-buff eggs, with small spots and blotches of black or gray. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 22-24 days.

This bird uses it pointed, upcurved bill to sift through shallow water and mud for small animals, such as shrimp, sweeping it from side to side with a brisk flicking action. It leans forward to feed, so that the bill is horizontal with the water surface. It also will swim in deeper water, upending like a duck to reach its prey beneath the surface. In the winter it will gather into flocks of several hundred birds to feed in their favorite place. Its feathers can look dazzling in the sun light, especially in flight.

This bird is always sociable. The Pied Avocets nest in dense colonies of up to 200 pairs, often on muddy islands. Each pair will defend its nest, but the whole colony will join together to protect each other from intruders.