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American Avocet

Found in shallow wetlands and mudflats throughout North America, this bird is easily recognizable by its upward-curving bill and long legs.

With its long legs, long, upturned bill, and warm brownish head and neck, the American Avocet calls to mind the words graceful and elegant. While the American Avocet’s long legs allow it to forage by walking in relatively deep water, it is also a good swimmer.

The American Avocet’s diet and habitat preferences make it one of the bird species most vulnerable to botulism outbreaks, which can be a significant cause of mortality. If diseases and predators are avoided, avocets can live over 9 years in the wild.


The American Avocet is a tall, graceful shorebird with very long, bluish legs, black upperparts broadly striped with white, and a very long, recurved bill. Pale rusty head and neck in breeding plumage.

American Avocet


The sexes are similar, though females have bills that are more strongly curved. Compare the two bills in this image.

Seasonal change in appearance

Winter birds have pale grayish heads and necks.


Juveniles have paler heads and necks than breeding adults.


American Avocets inhabit ponds, mudflats, and shallow lakes, as well as beaches.


American Avocets eat insects and small crustaceans.


American Avocets forage by sweeping their bills just below the surface of the water, and by gleaning from the surface of the ground or water.

American Avocet

Photograph © Greg Lavaty


American Avocets breed throughout much of the western U.S. and southwestern Canada. They winter along the Gulf Coast and in Mexico. The population is stable.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American Avocet.

Wing Shape

The shape of a bird’s wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species’ identification.

– Upperside
– Underside of same wing

Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History

Fun Facts

American Avocets are aggressive and vocal in defense of their nests.

American Avocets often nest in loose colonies.

American Avocet

Photograph © Greg Lavaty


Vocalizations consist of a single-note “wheet.”

Purchase the ringtone for this species at

Similar Species

Black-necked Stilt

The Black-necked Stilt is about the same size and general shape as the avocet. Inexperienced birders might see a superficial similarity to the avocet in its winter plumage. No other species shares the black and white body, long legs, and upturned bill of the avocet.


The American Avocet’s nest consists of scrape lined with pebbles or vegetation.

Number: 4.
Color: buffy in color with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging: The young hatch at about 23-26 days, and leave the nest shortly after hatching, though associating with the adults for some time.

Bent Life History of the American Avocet
Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the American Avocet – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.




Wherever this large, showy bird is found it is always much in evidence. Its large size and conspicuous colors could hardly be overlooked, even if it were shy and retiring; but its bold, aggressive manners force it upon our attention as soon as we approach its haunts. Localities and conditions best suited to its needs are still to be found in many places on the great plains and in the interior valleys of the far west. Its favorite resorts seem to be the shallow, muddy borders of alkaline lakes, wide open spaces of extensive marshes, where scanty vegetation gives but little concealment, or broad wet meadows splashed with shallow pools. If the muddy pools are covered with reeking scum, attracting myriads of flies, so much the better for feeding purposes. Dry, sun-baked mud flats or low, gravelly or sandy islands, with scanty vegetation, furnish the desired nesting conditions. In such open spaces they can be seen from afar and, long before we reach their haunts, the avocets are flying out to meet us, advertising the fact that we are approaching their home, making the air ring with their loud yelping notes of protest, circling about us and darting down at us in threatening plunges.

Courtship:Prof. Julian S. Huxley (1925), who has made a study of the European species, says:

The avocet has no courtship. There are no songs or aerial displays; no posturing by the male; no mutual ceremonies; no special courtship notes. There is some hostility and fighting; a peculiar action by the female which is a symbol of readiness to pair, followed by an excited action on the part of the male; and a special post-paring action by both birds; but of courtship In any accepted sense none whatever.

However that may be, our bird does indulge in actions and posturings which look very much like courtship. On May 29, 1905, we spent some time in watching the avocets in a colony on an alkali flat covered with a sparse growth of short, curly grass, near Hay Lake in southwestern Saskatchewan. We could not find any nests there at that time and concluded that the birds had not laid. They were apparently still conducting their courtships, wading about gracefully in the shallow water, frequently bowing or crouching down close to the water; sometimes they danced about with wings widespread, tipping from side to side like a balancing tight-rope walker; occasionally one, perhaps a female in an attitude of invitation, would lie prostrate on the ground or water for a minute or more, with the head and neck extended and wings outstretched. Frequently they fooled us by squatting down on the ground, as if sitting on a nest; if we went to investigate, they would run away and repeat the act elsewhere; perhaps this act carried the suggestion of mating as a part of the courtship ceremony.

Nesting: We found no large breeding colonies in Saskatchewan but several small ones. The Hay Lake colony referred to above was perhaps the largest, containing 15 or 20 pairs. The nests, found here on June 15, were merely slight hollows in the sun-baked mud on the broad alkali flats bordering the shallow lake; they were scattered widely among the little tufts of short grass which scantily covered the flat; the hollows measured from 3 to 4 inches in diameter and were lined with a few dry grasses. Some of the nests were well formed and somewhat elevated. Although in plain sight, the eggs were not easy to find, as they matched their surroundings perfectly.

On June 14, 1900, we found an interesting little colony of avocets on an island in Big Stick Lake, Saskatchewan, which was also occupied by big colonies of California and ring-billed gulfs, common terns, a few spotted sandpipers, and a few pairs of ducks. The avocets, terns, and sandpipers were all at one end of the island, a low grassy point; the ring-billed gulls and ducks were in the central, highest part; and the California gull colony was at the other end. The avocets’ nests, ten or a dozen of them, were placed in the short grass near the edge of the beach or on the drift weed lying in wind rows on the beach; one nest was partially under a fallen shrub or bushy weed. The nests were made of grasses, weed stems, straws and small sticks, with sometimes a few feathers, loosely arranged around small hollows, from 5 to 7 inches in diameter. Two of the nests held five eggs, the others three or four.

Robert B. Rockwell (1912) found an interesting colony of avocets on an island in Barr Lake, Colorado, of which he says:

The nests were all located In very similar locations, among a young growth of cockle burrs not over six inches in height and which had probably grown at least half of that since the eggs were laid. The cockle burrs formed a belt about 10 yards wide clear around the island just below the dense blue-stem and other rank grass with which the island was covered and on ground that was under water during the high water of the spring although inundated for a short time only. Two of the nests were very crude affairs, being a mere shallow hollow in the sand with a very few dead weed stalks of short lengths arranged around the eggs. The other was constructed in the same manner, but was quite well lined with weed stems, so that the eggs did not touch the ground. There was no evident attempt at concealment, the nests all being placed in small open spaces from six inches to a foot in diameter, and with nothing to protect them; but the color of the eggs was sufficient protection to make them quite inconspicuous.

Dr. Alexander Wetmore (1925) writes:

The sites chosen often are subject to inundation by sudden floods, when the birds scurry about, seemingly in confusion, but in reality working actively to build up the nest in order to support the eggs above the level of the encroaching water. In some cases it may be necessary to erect a structure 12 or 15 inches in height. Weeds, small ducks, bones, or dried bodies of ducks or other birds, feathers, or any other materials available are utilized as building materials.

Eggs: The American avocet lays three or four eggs, usually four and occasionally five. Numerous nests have been found containing seven or eight eggs, but these are probably products of two females. Edwin Beaupré writes to me that, in a colony of five pairs found by him on an island in a small lake in southern Alberta, the five pairs were occupying three nests; one contained eight eggs, another seven and the third four. The eggs vary in shape from ovate (rarely) to ovate pyriform and they are usually much elongated. The shell 15 smooth, but not glossy. The ground color varies from “Isabella color” to “deep olive buff.” This is more or less evenly covered with irregular spots and blotches, in various sizes, of brownish black, blackish brown, or black, rarely “warm sepia” or “bister”; there are occasionally a few blackish scrawls, and numerous underlying spots of various shades of drab. The measurements of 55 eggs average 49.8 by 34 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 56.3 by 34.6, 51.5 by 36.6, 43.2 by 83.4 and 47 by 31 millimeters.

Young: The period of incubation of the American bird has apparently not been determined, but that of the European bird is said to be 28 days. I have no data as to how the sexes incubate. Young avocets are very precocial and leave the nest soon after hatching. They are expert at hiding, even on the open flats and beaches; and they take to the water at an early age, where they can swim and dive like young ducks. I have seen a brood of four young, that could not have been hatched more than a few hours, swimming out in a lake, as if very much at ease. They soon learn to tip up in shallow water and probe on the bottom, like their parents, for their insect food.

Plumages: The downy young avocet is well colored for concealment on an open beach or alkaline flat. The colors of the upper parts are “cinnamon buff,” “cream buff,” and buffy grays, lightest on the crown and darkest on the rump; there is a distinct but narrow loral stripe of black; the crown is indistinctly spotted with dusky. Two parallel stripes of brownish black distinctly mark the scapulars end two more the sides of the rump; the wings, back, rump, and thighs are less distinctly spotted or peppered with gray and dusky. The under parts are huffy white, nearly pure white on the throat and belly.

In fresh juvenal plumage the crown is “light drab” with “pinkish buff tips; the sides and back of the neck are deep, rich “cinnamon,” deeper and richer than in the adult, shading off, on the upper back, throat, and upper breast, to a suffusion of “pinkish buff”; the chin and belly are white; the color pattern of the upper parts is similar to that of the adult, except that the dark feathers of the back, scapulars, and tertials are tipped with “pinkish buff”; and the greater and median wing coverts are narrowly so tipped.

This plumage is worn through the summer and fall without much change except by extensive fading and some wear. The cinnamon has nearly disappeared in September birds and all the buff edgings have faded or worn away. A body molt takes place in late winter or early spring which produces a first nuptial plumage much like the adult. Young birds can, however, be recognized by the worn primaries and by some of the juvenal scapulars and wing coverts. The first postnuptial molt, the following summer, is complete and produces the adult winter plumage.

Adults have a complete postnuptial molt, beginning in August, and a partial prenuptial molt, beginning in January, which involves the body plumage and some of the scapulars and wing coverts. The ” cinnamon” colors of the head and neck are characteristic of the nuptial plumage and are replaced by pale gray in winter adults.

Food: The feeding habits of the avocet are rather peculiar, might he expected of a bird with such a peculiar bill. The bill is not so sharply upturned in life, as it is in some stuffed specimens and in some drawings. Dr. Frank M. Chapman (1891) has explained it very well, as follows:
The use of the avocet’s recurved bill is clearly explained by the manner in which the bird procures its food. In feeding they wade into the water and drop the bill below the surface until the convexity of the maxilla probably touches the bottom. In this position they move forward at a half run and with every step the bill is swung from side to side sweeping through an arc of about 50° in search of shells and other small aquatic animals. The mandibles are slightly opened, nod at times the birds pause to swallow their prey. It is evident that birds with a straight or a downward curved bill could not adopt this method of feeding.

Audubon (1840) describes it, as follows:

They search for food precisely in the manner of the roseate spoonbill, moving their heads to and fro sideways, while their bill is passing through the soft mud; and in many instances, when the water was deeper, they would immerse their whole head and a portion of the neck, as the spoonbill and red-breasted snipe are wont to do. When, on the contrary, they pursued aquatic insects, such as swim on the surface, they ran after them, and on getting up to them, suddenly seized them by thrusting the lower mandible beneath them, while the other was raised a good way above the surface, much in the manner of the black shear water, which, however, performs this act on wing. They were also expert at catching flying insects, after which they ran with partially expanded wings.
Doctor Wetmore (1925) found that, in 67 stomachs examined, animal food amounted to 65.1 per cent and vegetable food 34.9 per cent. Among the animal food were found phyllopods, dragonfly nymphs, back swimmers, water boatmen, various beetles and flies and their larvae. The vegetable matter consisted largely of seeds of marsh or aquatic plants.

He says further:

Flocks of the birds search for food scattered about in shallow water, and do not hesitate to swim when necessary in crossing the deeper channels. Frequently a dozen or more feed in company, walking slowly along, shoulder to shoulder, as though in drill formation, at each forward step thrusting the head under water and sweeping the recurved bill along the bottom with a scythelike swing that must arouse consternation among water boatmen and other aquatic denizens of the bays and ponds. At times the writer has observed as many as 300 of these handsome birds feeding thus in a single company, a scene at once spirited and striking. As the birds feed much of the time by Immersing the head, anything that may touch the bill is gathered indiscriminately, as in feeding they depend upon the sense of touch. From their manner of feeding, avocets are often scavengers, taking living or recently dead prey without much choice. The large tapeworms found almost without fail in the duodenum of the avocet are transmitted from one bird to another in this manner. The cast-off terminal segments of the worms (bearing the eggs) are picked up and swallowed by other avocets, a proceeding which the writer has personally observed. Avocets also pick up matter floating in the water, on or near the surface, or take insects and seeds from mud bars. The insects may be those living in such localities or may be individuals that have been washed up in drift.

Other observers have reported avocets as feeding on grasshoppers, predaceous diving beetles, crickets, centipedes, weevils, small snails, sea slugs, small crustaceans, and even small fishes.

Behavior: Avocets are at all times tame and unsuspicious, very solicitous and aggressive on their breeding grounds, quiet and indifferent at other times, showing only mild curiosity. Their demonstrations of anxiety on their nesting grounds, particularly if they have young, are amusing and ludicrous. Utterly regardless of their own safety, they meet the intruder more than half way and stay with him till he leaves.

W. Leon Dawson (1909) has described it very graphically, as follows:

The mother bird had flushed at a hundred yards, but seeing our position she flew toward us and dropped into the water some 50 feet away. Here she lifted a black wing in simulation of maimed stiffness, and flopped and floundered away with the aid of the other one. Seeing that the ruse failed, she ventured nearer and repeated the experiment, lifting now one wing and now both in token of utter helplessness. After a while the male joined her, and we had the painful spectacle of a crippled family, whose members were uttering most doleful cries of distress, necessitated apparently by their numerous aches and breaks. Once, for experiment’s sake, we followed, and the waders flopped along in manifest delight coaxing us up on shore and making off through the sagebrush with broken legs and useless wings. But we came back, finding It better to let the birds make the advances. The birds were driven to the very limit of frenzy, dancing, wing trailing, swaying, going through last convulsions and beginning over again without regard to logical sequence, all in an agony of effort to divert attention from those precious eggs. As time elapsed, however, the color of the play changed. Finding that the appeal of cupidity was of no avail, the birds appeared to fall back upon the appeal to pity. Decoylng was useless, that was plain; so they stood with upraised wings, quivering and moaning, in tenderest supplication. It was too much even for conscious rectitude and we withdrew abashed.

The flight of the avocet is strong, direct and rather swift, much like that of the greater yellow legs, with neck and legs fully extended, fore and aft. It can alight on or rise from the surface of the water with ease. On alighting its long, black and white wings are raised above its back, and slowly folded, as it settles itself with a nodding motion of the head, stands still and looks about it for a moment or two. No bird is better equipped for the amphibious existence that it leads; its long legs and webbed feet enable it to wade through soft muddy shallows of varying depths; and if it suddenly steps beyond its depth it swims as naturally as a duck until it strikes bottom again; the thick plumage of its under parts protects it and marks it as an habitual swimmer. It often feeds while swimming by tipping up like a surface-feeding duck and reaching down into the water with its long neck and bill. It can even dive when necessary.

Dr. Walter P. Taylor (1912) says that avocets “share with most other birds a dislike of owls. Three were seen pursuing a (owl?) over a wild hay meadow.”

Dr. T. Gilbert Pearson (1916) noted an interesting flight maneuver:

Only a few weeks ago I was impressed anew with the beauty of these birds. While passing down the valley of Crane Creek, in southeastern Oregon, a flock of about 50 avocets arose and indulged in a series of evolutions which even the most casual observer would have paused to watch. In a fairly compact company they flew away for a short distance, then turned, and, after coming back almost to the starting point, dived toward the earth, arose again perhaps 50 yards in the air, then swung around and came back. These maneuvers were repeated at least three times. Their white and black plumage, flashing against the gray sagebrush of the desert mountain side, and sharply relieved as they skimmed over the alkaline creek, made a picture long to be remembered.

Charles E. II. Aiken (1914) witnessed a curious performance of avocets in Utah. In September, 1893, he visited the mouth of Bear River where hundreds of acres of mud flats and shallow water offer an attractive resort for various water fowl. In a submerged grove where patches of mud appeared above the water hundreds of avocets were congregated. One little mud island that differed from others in that it was quite round seemed to have a fascination for the birds, and they were packed together upon it in a mass which covered the island to the water’s edge. As the Island was about 12 feet in circumference the number of birds probably approximated 150. This mass of birds continued to revolve about from left to right, and being so crowded the movement was rather slow and their steps short and measured, so that the impression was that they were all marking time in the marching. Birds on the rim of the circle avoided walking off in the water and crowded inward against the mass. Every moment or two birds would leave the milling body and fly to a neighboring mud island, and as many from near-by would fly to take their places and join the dance. Aiken advanced quietly to within 20 yards and viewed them for half an hour, but they continued undisturbed by his presence and he left them so. It appeared to be a diversion of the birds.

John G. Tyler contributes the following:

The avocet is evidently possessed of a very keen sense of hearing. On May 21, 1921, 1 discovered three or four pairs in an overflowed pasture not far from Fresno. Driving my car up to within about 100 feet of them I allowed my engine to die and sat perfectly motionless. In about 15 minutes the birds had become thoroughly accustomed to my presence and one bird finally took up a position on a small levee, tucked its bill under the feathers of its back, closed its eyes, and after raising the right leg and drawing it up close to the body, stood absolutely motionless and apparently asleep for several minutes. It was very much awake, however, for when I whistled softly through my teeth, making a rather squeaking noise, it immediately straightened up, opened its eyes, and gazed about in apparent astonishment. As I remained motionless the bird soon settled down and in the course of the next few moments I repeated the same experiment always with the same results. So long as one remains seated in the automobile and makes no noticeable movement It is possible to make close observation of these and several other species of shore birds, but the slightest movement or an attempt to get out of the car sends them away in the wildest confusion.

Voice: The avocet’s vocabulary is not so elaborate as it is impressive. The commonest note, heard on the breeding grounds as a note of alarm or protest, is a loud, shrill whistle or yelping scream, which I have recorded in my notes as wheat, wheat, wheat. Others have recorded it as plee-eek, plee-eek, or click, click, click. It is always sharp and vehement, implying anger. I have also heard a softer note, uttered in a conversational tone, like whick, whick, whick, or whuck, whucle, whuck.

Aretas A.. Saunders contributes the following notes:
About the nest colony the adults flew closely about my head, calling a short staccato call that sounded like pink, pink, pink. One bird pretended wounded in a different manner from what I have seen it done by other species. The bird sat on the water, dropped its head and neck down to the surface, half spread its wings, also dropping them on the water, and, lying almost still, called oo-oo, oo-oo, oo-oo, over and over, as though suffering great pain. The voice was low and not very loud, and not at all like the pink, pink of the other birds.

Field marks: The avocet, in its striking color pattern of black and white, could not be mistaken for anything else. A white tail, a black V on a white back, black wings with white secondaries and blue legs are all distinctive marks; the buff head and neck are nuptial adornments; in fall and winter these parts are grayish white. From the stilt it can be distinguished by its much stockier build, the absence of black on head and neck and by blue instead of pink legs.

Game: Although it is a large, plump bird and would help to fill a game bag, there is no excuse for treating it as a game bird. It is so tame and so foolishly inquisitive that it would offer poor sport and would soon be exterminated. Furthermore its flesh is said to be worthless for the table. But above all, it is such a showy, handsome and interesting bird, that it ought to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. The destruction of its breeding grounds will exterminate it soon enough, as it has already been extirpated from its former range in the Eastern States.


Range: North America to northern Central America.

Breeding range: The breeding range of the avocet extends north to Washington (Moses Lake and probably Walla Walla); northern Idaho (Fend Oreille); Alberta (Red Deer, Buffalo Lake, and Flagstaff); Saskatchewan (Osler, Quill Lake, and Touchwood Hills) North Dakota (Kenmare and Cando); Minnesota (Brown’s Valley, Traverse County); and Wisconsin (Green Bay). East to Wisconsin (Green Bay); western Iowa (Sioux City); central Kansas (Lamed and Dodge); and rarely to southern Texas (Corpus Christi and Isabel). South rarely to southern Texas (Isabel and Brownsville); New Mexico (Chloride); northern Utah (Salt Lake City); Nevada (Ruby Valley and probably Cloverdale); and southern California (Little Owens Lake, Kerrville, and Santa Ana). West to California (Santa Ana, Santa Cruz Island, Buena Vista Lake, Tulare Lake, Los Banos, Stockton, Amedee, Tule Lake, and Brownell); Oregon (Adel, Plush, Sumner Lake, and Christmas Lake); and Washington (Moses Lake). It has been recorded in summer north to British Columbia (Okanagan Landing); Manitoba (Brandon); and New York (Ithaca); while there also is an old breeding record for Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

Winter range: North to Carolina (Novato and Stockton); and Texas (Houston). East to Texas (Houston, Corpus Christi. and Brownsville); Tamaulipas (Matamoros) ; and Guatkmala (Chiapam). South to Guatemala (Chiapam); and Sinaloa (Escuinapa). West to Sinaloa (Escuinapa and Mazatlan); Lower California (San Jose del Cabo and La Paz); and California (San Diego, Morro Bay, San Francisco, and Novato.)

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival are: Nebraska, Whitman, April 13, Long Pine, April 27, Alda, May 2, and Lincoln, May 5; South Dakota, Pitrodie, April 28, Huron, May 6, and Aberdeen, May 15; North Dakota, Marstonmoor, April 28; Manitoba, Margaret, May 5; Saskatchewan, Fort Carlston, May 4, and Dinsmore, May 9; Arizona, Ehrenburg, February 12, and Tucson, April 21; New Mexico, Albuquerque, April 14; Colorado, Loveland, April 9; and Denver, April 25; Utah, Salt Lake City, April 27; Wyoming, Huttons Lake, April 21, Lake Como, April 22, and Cheyenne, April 24; Idaho, Deer Flat, February 15, and Rupert, April 26; Montana, Great Falls, April 18, Fort Custer, April 26, Terry, May 1, Billings, May 3, and Big Sandy, May 18; Alberta, Beaverhill Lake, April 28, and Flagstaff, May 14; Nevada, Ash Meadows, March 15; Oregon, Klamath Falls, March 26, N arrows, April 11, Malheur Lake, April 17, and Lawen, April 19. Avocets have been noted at Lake Palomas, Chihuahua, on April 7, and at Gardner’s Laguna, Lower California, on April 22.

Fall migration: Late dates of departure are: Oregon, Forest Grove, September 28, Malbeur Lake, October 26, and Klamath Lake, November 6; Alberta, Veteran, September 8; Montana, Fort Custer, September 9, and Great Falls, October 2; Idaho, Rupert, October 21; Wyoming, Fort Bridger, October 10; Utah, Provo, November 26; Colorado, Denver, October 3, and Mosca, October 20; New Mexico, Glenrio, October 11, Las Palomas. October 12, and Mesilla Park, November 9; Manitoba, Margaret, September 15; South Dakota, Harrison, October 28; Wisconsin. Waupaca County, October 21; Nebraska, Gresham, September 10, Long Pine, October 9, and Lincoln, October 27; and Kansas, Emporia, August 25. The arrival of avocets in the fall has been noted in the Valley of Mexico in August and September.

Casual records: The avocet has on a number of occasions been reported or taken at points far outside of its normal range. Some of these records are: Cuba, once in the market at Havana and at Cardenas in August; Jamaica, reported in winter; Barbados, one in the fall of 1880 and again on October 1, 1888; Florida, one killed at Palm Beach Inlet in 1916; Georgia, St. Marys, October 8, 1903; North Carolina, six noted at Fort Macon on September 12, 1870; Virginia, two taken at Wallops Island in September, 1925; New Jersey, Barnegat, May 30, 1880; New York, Ponquoque, one in 1844, Carnarsie Bay, one in 1847, Long Beach, May 20, 1877, near Tuckerton, last of August, 1886, Renwick, September 16, 1909, and Ithaca, September 16, 1909; Connecticut, near Saybrook, 1871; Massachusetts, three at Ipswich Neck, September 13, 1896, Lake Cochituate, October 19, 1880. Natick, October 29, 1880, and Salisbury, May 23, 1887; Vermont, St. Albans, fall of 1875; Maine, Cape Elizabeth, November 5, 1878, and Calais, spring of 1862; New Brunswick, Quaco. in 1880; Louisiana. New Orleans, November 12, 1889, and November 7, 1819, Derniere Island, April 16, 1837, and Johnsons Bayou, November 26. 1882; Arkansas, a specimen was taken some time previous to 1847; Missouri, St. Louis, October 28, 1878, and Stotesbury, April 8, 1894; Illinois, St. Clair County, October 28, 1878, and two at Chicago, May 5, 1889; Indiana, one was taken at Calumet Lake; Ohio, St. Marys Reservoir, November 10. 1882, Oberlin, November 4, 1907, and March 16 to 21, 1907, Sandusky, May 24, 1914, and near Columbus, November 10, 1882; Michigan, St. Clair Flats, in 1874; Ontario, Toronto. last of May, 1881 and September 19, 1901 Mackenzie, Birch Lake, July 15, 1910, and Fort Rae; British Columbia, Okanagan, April 28, 1908, and mouth of the Fraser River, October 20, 1915. Avocets also have been reported from Greenland, but the records lack confirmation.

Egg dates: Saskatchewan: 27 records. May 18 to June 16; 14 records, May 29 to June 14. Utah: 52 records, April 10 to June 15; 26 records, May 6 to 16. California: 35 records, April 22 to Juno 05. 18 records Max 5 to 29.


About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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