Andean Avocets

The Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina) is a large wader in the avocet and stilt bird family, Recurvirostridae.

Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina)
Andean Avocet

Distribution

It is resident in the Andes, breeding above 3500 m in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile and southern Peru.

Description

This 43-48 cm long avocet has a white head, neck, underparts and rump, and dark brown back, wings and tail. The thin, grey legs are not as long as with other avocet species, but the long thin black bill is upturned at the end.

Males and females look alike, and the juvenile plumage is undescribed.

The colour pattern is similar to that of the local subspecies Himantopus himantopus melanurus of Black-winged Stilt, but that bird has very long red legs a white tail and a straight bill.

Behavior

The Andean Avocet nests near shallow, preferably alkaline lakes in the Andes, often in small groups. The eggs are laid in at least January.

This species is non-migratory, but may move to slightly lower altitudes when not breeding.

Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina)

Diet / Feeding

The Andean Avocet forages in shallow water or on mud flats, often sweeping its bill from side to side in water as it seeks its crustacean and insect prey.

References

  • Hayman, Marchant and Prater, Shorebirds ISBN 0-873403-19-4

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