American Avocets — Showing Their Breeding Colors

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Last autumn I posted some images of American Avocets. Those Avocets were monochromatic, showing entirely black and white plumage. I encountered another group of American Avocets a couple of weeks ago. What a difference a season makes!

Unlike the birds of last autumn, these Avocets were resplendent in their spring/summer breeding colors that include burnt orange plumage on their heads and necks.

Avocets have a striking appearance no matter what time of year one encounters them. But their breeding plumage truly adds a special touch to their appearance.

Their long and spindly legs — pale blue in color — seem to go well with their very long and slightly up-curved beaks.

American Avocets are shore birds and they have evolved to be able to hunt for prey — small invertebrates, mostly — at the edges of ponds and other shallow bodies of water. They can wade well out from the shoreline courtesy of those long legs, and they use their beaks to probe in the mud for possible food.

I’ve heard it said that female Avocets have noticeably longer beaks than the males display. If that is so, then the out of focus female is at the rear of this image of a pair of Avocets.

Obviously, Avocets are not desert-dwelling birds. They are uncommon in southern Arizona but show up at times near our few bodies of shallow water. I encountered these birds in ponds near Willcox, about 75 miles southeast of Tucson.

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), all images shot at f5.6 @ 1/4000, ISOs and exposure compensation varied.

2 Replies to “American Avocets — Showing Their Breeding Colors”

  1. Burrdoo says:

    Striking shots of very handsome birds!

  2. picpholio says:

    That first photo is really great Steven !

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