An Imperial Beach Hidden Gem and Bird of the Week, the American Avocet
Oct 27, 2016 01:21PM
By Paul Spear
An Imperial Beach Hidden Gem and Bird of the Week, the American Avocet is presented by Bryan Brillhart Photography.You can visit Bryan's work at: Bryan Brillhart Photography
The American avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
This Weeks Hidden Gem and "Bird of the Week", the American avocet (Recurvirostra americana) was photographed in the the Tijuana Estuary.The American avocet is a large wader in the stilt family. his cousin, the black necked stilt can be found in our Estuary as well and will be featured in an upcoming article.
The avocet has long, thin, gray legs, giving it its colloquial name, "blue shanks". The plumage is black and white on the back with white on the underbelly. The neck and head are cinnamon colored in the summer and gray in the winter. The long, thin bill is upturned at the end. The breeding habitat is marshes, beaches, prairie ponds, and shallow lakes. American avocets form breeding colonies numbering dozens of pairs. When breeding is over the birds gather in large flocks, sometimes including hundreds of birds. Nesting occurs near water, usually on small islands or boggy shorelines where access by predators is difficult. The female lays four eggs in a saucer-shaped nest, and both sexes take turns incubating them. Upon hatching, the chicks feed themselves; they
are never fed by their parents. The American avocet forages in shallow water or on mud flats, often sweeping its bill from side to side in water as it seeks crustacean and insect prey.
Until next week, happy birding!
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