Friday, July 07, 2017

Friday's Foto

A large wader of the stilt family, the American Avocet is a rare but fairly regular visitor to New York City. This bold, black and white long-legged bird has stunning cinnamon colored head and neck plumage during the breeding season. More often than not, it is seen around NYC in non-breeding plumage when the head and neck are gray. Using its unusual upturned bill to sweep back and forth across the water surface, it uses touch to catch small crustaceans and insects, its primary diet.

Their preferred habitats are beaches, flats, prairie ponds and shallow lakes. Avocets breed in the western Great Plains, from Saskatchewan and Alberta southward through Montana and the Dakotas to eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. They also breed in isolated wetland areas in the arid western states, and along coast of California and Texas. Some birds breed on the Atlantic Coast and others breed in central Mexico. They mostly winter on the southern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Mexico and the United States. Their precocial chicks can move around right after hatching. Swimming and feeding themselves shortly after hatching, they begin to fly at about a month old.

Due to this species extremely large range and stable population, the IUCN lists their conservation status as "Least Concern".

The American Avocet’s scientific name, Recurvirostra americana, means curved backwards; America.

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