Stilts and Avocets
The family Recurvirostriae includes 3 species found in North America.
Stilts and Avocets occur over much of the world in temperate and tropical regions, usually in wet habitats -- marshes, mudflats, lakes, streams, flooded fields. They are long-legged, long-necked, long-billed waders 29-48 cm in length. Avocets have a slender, upcurved bill; stilts a straight, slender bill. The red legs of stilts are exceptionally long in proportion to their body size. Avocets have bluish-gray legs. Plumages of most species are pied black-and-white, some with areas of buff or reddish on the head, neck or breast.
Avocets feed on insects and other invertebrates by sweeping the bill from side-to-side through shallow water or by "tipping up" in deeper water. Stilts feed from the surface of shallow water, from floating vegetation or from muddy surfaces, taking insects, insect larvae, freshwater mollusks, worms and tadpoles.
Avocets nest in colonies near water; open nests are placed on grass, sand, mud or in shallow water and may be unlined or lined with dead plants. Clutch size is usually 4, rarely 2, 3 or 5. Clutches of 8-12 probably due to more than one female laying in a nest. Eggs are buff or brownish with black and gray markings. Incubation is by both sexes for 23-25 days. The young hatch; asynchronously. Young are cared for by both adults and fledge at 35-42 days. Age at first breeding is 2 or 3 years.
Stilts nest in colonies near or in shallow water. Nests consist of mud and plants or in grass clumps with little nest material. Eggs 3-4, pale buff-brown with black and gray markings. Incubation is 22-25 days by both sexes, hatching synchronous. Young are precocial and are cared for by both parents, but feed themselves. They fledge in 28-32 days. They are independent 2-4 weeks after fledging. Age at first breeding is 2 years.
Stilts - Patuxent Bird ID Center