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American Avocets and their Chicks

Updated on September 12, 2014
Mama avocet and two chicks.
Mama avocet and two chicks. | Source

Long-legged American shorebird

American avocets are shorebirds with one of the longest legs in proportion to its body size of all the shorebirds. They are the only bird of its kind in the western hemisphere. Their closest relative in this region is the black-necked stilt. Avocets tend to like areas with salty or brackish water such as salt marshes, salt lakes, and river mouths. They feed by swinging their bills over shallow water or mud hoping to stir up and catch aquatic insects. It's a strange, flicking motion that can't accurately be described.

Avocets begin breeding in the spring and summer and typically have three or four eggs in the nest. They like to nest with other avocets and stilts for added protection. Stilt chicks look very much like avocet chicks. During the breeding period, the adult avocet's head and neck turn red. The way to tell the difference between the genders is that the females bills will be more curved than the males. Both parents incubate the nest, but the female does most of the chick rearing, though the father is often nearby helping fend off predators. The chicks can leave the nest within a day like other shorebirds, and can even swim with their little partially-webbed feet to escape predators.

This lens will feature both adult American avocets as well as their babies.

All photos in this lens were taken by me except where otherwise noted (such the posters for sale).

Two American Avocets

Two avocets
Two avocets

These two avocets were seen at the Salton Sea in their non-breeding plumage. I love seeing avocets in the wild. Salton Sea is a great place to see birds during their migration and several avocets were there among a lot of other different species.

Audubon Avocet Glicee

This is a glicee of John James Audubon's avocets. Audubon is a prominent bird artist who made a visual record of all known bird species in North America during his lifetime. He tried to paint the bird in a natural pose as much as possible.

American Avocets at Famosa Slough

American Avocets
American Avocets

Non-breeding avocets like to flock together as protection from predators. Famosa Slough is a little inlet of water near Mission Bay in San Diego. Work has been done to create a hospitable breeding and feeding area for many species of birds there.

American Avocet items.

Here are some suggestions from Amazon and from my own store at Cafepress on American avocets and shorebirds in general. I tried to pick something else that helps expand your knowledge of avocets or birds in general.

American avocet chick items at Cafepress

I am selling items with this photo on it at Cafepress.  Click on the link below.
I am selling items with this photo on it at Cafepress. Click on the link below. | Source

American Avocet Plush Toy

American Avocet - Audubon Plush Bird (Authentic Bird Sound)
American Avocet - Audubon Plush Bird (Authentic Bird Sound)

This item is currently unavailable! I will let you know when it becomes available again. These plush toys are great with their real sound and authentic look. If you can't find the Avocet one, I would definitely recommend others such as mallard ducklings and killdeer.

Molt in North American Birds (Peterson Reference Guides)
Molt in North American Birds (Peterson Reference Guides)

Not sure if you're seeing an avocet, a stilt, or something else, check your guide. This guide is unique as it shows birds in their transitional molts. Many people have a very hard time identifying birds in these stages.


American Avocet Chick

American avocet chick.  Check out the slideshow I made on YouTube just below this photo and see more of this chick and his sibling.
American avocet chick. Check out the slideshow I made on YouTube just below this photo and see more of this chick and his sibling. | Source

These chicks are so cute! I found this one and its siblings at a local fair where people were walking by and getting really close. But, the parents and the two babies were very accommodating. I just wish the weather wasn't so cloudy. I've been to this spot several times over the last few years and I've seen several chicks. Last year, they changed the design of the area and didn't see any.

American avocet chicks

American avocet photo

Who can resist a mama (or papa) avocet and her/his baby chick! Here's another picture of an American avocet with a baby. These birds raise their chicks out in the open and the chicks are very independent and nearly fearless. The parents are aggressive towards anything that might be a threat to their chicks.

Read more about American avocets on the web

Doing research? Check out these sites for interesting information on the American avocet.

More American Avocet Videos

Here are some more American avocet videos from YouTube that I thought would be interesting.

Have you seen American Avocets with their chicks?

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      I don't see these in central Florida where I take most of my bird photos. Very nice slide show and info.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      That's really thinking at an impsesrive level

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      No I haven't seen American Avocets, but I like the chicks. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful birds!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes. I have a great set of photos of a Mother with two chicks.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I used to see avocets when I lived along the Gulf Coast. However, I did not have the privilege of seeing young chicks like these. So, this was a treat. Thanks for sharing.


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