bird, nesting habitat, ecological factors


The American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) is a large shorebird that breeds and congregates in open, shallow, saline wetlands (Robinson et al. 1997). Its long, curved bill is well adapted for stirring up and feeding on invertebrates from the benthos. Because they fill such a narrow habitat niche, the majority of avocets concentrate in the thousands to breed in a few hot spots such as Mono Lake in California, and the Great Salt Lake in Utah (Robinson et al. 1997). Avocets arrive at the Great Salt Lake in late March and nest from mid-April to mid-July (Sordahl 1981). They require 15-20 cm (5.9 to 7.9 inches) of water for foraging (Robinson et al. 1997). Avocets lay 3-4 cryptic, pyriform eggs in a soft, alkali ground scrape lined with vegetation (Robinson et al 1997) or built up on small patches of vegetation over water (Paton et al 1992). They nest near the water's edge (Robinson et al. 1997) and on islands whenever possible (Sidle and Arnold 1982). Pairs may re-nest if the first site is heavily disturbed or depredated (Robinson et al. 1997).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL




Life Sciences


Plant and Wildlife Sciences

University Standing at Time of Publication

Graduate Student