Avocet, a wading bird with extremely long legs. It is found in both the Eastern and the Western hemispheres. It lives in marshes and near coastal bays and alkaline lakes. The avocet has striking black and white markings on its back, and underneath is pale gray. It is 15 to 20 inches (38 to 50 cm) long. It wades through muddy water, swinging its upcurved bill like a scythe to catch water insects and small fish, shellfish, and amphibians. Avocets often breed in colonies. The female lays three to five pale olive, chocolate-spotted eggs in a shallow nest on the ground.
The American avocet is the only species found in the United States. It is about 18 inches (46 cm) long, and has a cinnamon-colored head, neck, and upper breast. It breeds in western North America from southern Canada to Texas, and winters from Texas to Guatemala.
Avocets belong to the stilt and avocet family, Recurvirostridae. The scientific name for the American avocet is Recurvirostra americana. The pied avocet is R. avosetta.The American avocet is about eighteen inches long with a cinnamon-colored head.