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American Avocet

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Colorado Postcards
The American Avocet

Wading in wetlands and nesting in open spaces, the American Avocet comes to Colorado for the breeding season. It is elegant, standing tall on long blue legs, with a striking black and white pattern on its back and wings, and a cinnamon-colored head and neck in the spring.

But the avocet's most distinguishing feature is a thin, saber-like bill that’s about three times longer than its head, and curves upwards near the tip. It's a specialized tool for feeding in shallow waters, and birdwatchers often see groups of graceful avocets, heads down, sweeping their bills from side to side “scything” through the mud in a fascinating rhythm. Avocets sometimes lay their eggs in the nests of other females or even other species, and once they hatch, avocet chicks are quickly able to step out on their own: they leave their nests after one day, fully able to swim, dive, and sashay along the water's edge in search of a meal.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.