Avocet Facts

Avocet Facts
Avocet is a type of wading bird. There are four species of avocet that can be found in Europe, Asia, Australia and on the Pacific coast of North America. Avocet inhabits shallow lakes, saltwater wetlands, marshes, coastal bays and swamps. Number of avocet decreased in the last couple of decades due to habitat loss and increased chemical pollution of water ecosystems. Besides these threats, avocets are prone to avian botulism (bacterial disease) and influenza (viral disease). Luckily, number of avocets in the wild is still stable and they are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Avocet Facts:
Avocet is a bird of medium size. It can weigh 11 to 15 ounces and reach between 16 to 18 inches in length.
Wingspan of avocet is between 30 and 32 inches.
Body of avocet is covered with black and white feathers. Young animals look like adults with one exception: they have brown feathers instead of black.
The most distinctive feature on the body of avocet is its long, upward curled beak.
Males have slightly longer beaks than females.
Unusual beak is specific adaptation to the life in swampy areas. When searching for food, avocet relies on the eyesight. As soon as the prey is located, avocet will sweep its long beak through the water to grab it.
Besides the beak, avocets have webbed feet and very long, slender legs which facilitate walking through the shallow water.
Avocets are carnivores (meat-eaters). They consume mostly insects, worms, crustaceans, mollusks, fish and amphibians.
Due to their large size, avocets do not have a lot of natural enemies. Young animals and eggs are usually target of cats, dogs, weasels and stoats.
Avocets are social animals that live in large flocks. These groups can be especially numerous during the mating and migratory seasons.
Migrations are typical for species of avocets that live in temperate climates. They are taking place from August to October. Avocets will travel toward the south to avoid lack of food and low temperatures that are characteristic for the winter season in the northern areas.
Avocets are territorial animals. They will aggressively protect their territory and chase away unwanted (even larger) birds from their home range.
Flocks composed of between 10 and 70 pairs of birds will mate from April to August. Both male and female are in charge for nesting and incubation of eggs. Nests are made out of the sand, mud, feathers, pebbles and vegetation.
Female lays between 3 and 5 greenish-brown eggs that will hatch after 23 to 25 days. Young birds are able to walk as soon as they hatch, but they will stay with their parents until they reach the age of 35 to 42 days.
On average, avocet can survive up to 5 years in the wild.

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