Andean avocet

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Andean avocet
Recurvirostra andina.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Recurvirostridae
Genus: Recurvirostra
Species: R. andina
Binomial name
Recurvirostra andina
Philippi & Landbeck, 1861

The Andean avocet (Recurvirostra andina) is a large wader in the avocet and stilt bird family, Recurvirostridae. It is resident in the Andes, breeding above 3500 m in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile and southern Peru.


This avocet has a white head, neck, underparts and rump, and dark brown back, wings and tail. It is similar in size to the American avocet, at 43–48 cm (17–19 in) in length and 315–410 g (11.1–14.5 oz) in weight.[2] The thin, grey legs are not as long as with other avocet species, but the long thin black bill is upturned at the end. The sexes are similar, and the juvenile plumage is undescribed.

The colour pattern is similar to that of the local subspecies Himantopus himantopus melanurus of black-winged stilt, but that bird has very long red legs a white tail and a straight bill.


The Andean avocet nests near shallow, preferably alkaline lakes in the Andes, often in small groups. The eggs are laid in at least January.

This species is non-migratory, but may move to slightly lower altitudes when not breeding.

The Andean avocet forages in shallow water or on mud flats, often sweeping its bill from side to side in water as it seeks its crustacean and insect prey.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Recurvirostra andina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.