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An American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) forages for food shortly before sundown.  Although you can’t tell from this image, its beak is about twice as long as shown, and upturned at the tip, which makes it easy to identify.  The birds have reddish-brown heads and necks in the summer that fade to a light grey in the winter.  Their legs also make a similar color change.  This image, taken in October, shows the bird about halfway through its color change from breeding to non-breeding plumage.

Avocets also have long legs that make them good waders.  You’re probably seeing about 1/6th of the bird’s legs in this image.

An interesting thing about avocets is that the chicks are able to feed themselves as soon as they are born.  The parents don’t feed them, as is common in most bird species.  While the chicks are able to walk and forage for their own food, they’re not able to fly for around a month.

Avocets feed on small crustaceans and insects.  They swish their beaks through the water to find their prey.   That’s what this one is doing.

Nothing like dining al fresco!



  1. Beautiful shot. As I have started taking photos of birds, I am learning how difficult it is to get shows like this, and I appreciate them even more. What size lens were you using?

  2. marvelous photo !

    • Thanks Devendra. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

      RPRT Photo

  3. Thanks, Mike.

    I love the challenge of bird photography, and wish I had more time to pursue it.

    I shot this with the Canon 100-400 mm zoom set at 400. I call it “The Bird Lens” since that’s what I use it for probably over 90% of the time.

    Worth noting that I cropped this image down to about 25% of it’s actual size.

    One cool thing about that lens is that you can use a teleconverter with it. My gravatar image was shot with this lens and a 1.4 teleconverter.

    Let me know if I can answer any more questions.

    Happy birding…and shooting!

    RPRT Photo

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