American Avocets

Posted by Joe Maskasky on April 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm
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Avocet Mating Dance
Joe Maskasky, Bailey, CO
At a lake in Denver, late March 2018, I was fortunate to have observed and photographed the avocet mating dance. The entire ritual lasted more than a minute. The female avocet put her head down with her neck extended out parallel to the water. The male avocet stood along side the female and swished his beak back and forth in the water, making splashes visible to the female. The swishing continued for some time and finally the male ended with his beak touching under the female’s extended neck. The male then stood on top of the female and mated. Then the pair stood beside each other in the shallow water, crossed their beaks and together, circled almost completely around while maintaining crossed beaks. They then flew a short distance away, together. I observed this entire sequence twice within an hour for this pair of American Avocets.