AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra Americana)
This remarkable wading bird is a migratory resident of Estero Island, but occasionally turns up on our beaches in its magnificent breeding season plumage. Usually found in grey and black plumage, the striking coloration and elegant profile of the American Avocet stands out among our shorebirds. Standing on the longest of legs they feed on invertebrates with wide sweeps of their delicate upturned bill. When nesting, the Avocet is remarkably aggressive towards predators, sometimes, physically striking crows and hawks. American Avocets may lay eggs in their own nests or use the nest of other shore birds. This also occurs with other species of shorebirds who leave their own eggs to be raised by Avocets. The young can leave the nest after only one day, feeding, walking and even diving on their own.
The birds shown in these photographs were observed feeding in the surf on the south end of Estero Island.
(Photos courtesy of Ellen Fernandez)