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Recurvirostridae - avocets, stilts

JacanaThere are 9 species in this family of shorebirds. They are found in marshy areas all over the world, except for Antarctica.

Most species are 12-18 inches tall. They have very long legs; long necks and long, pointed bills. Avocets' bills curve up at the end! Stilts have straight bills. Stilts have reddish-pink legs and avocets have grayish-blue legs. Avocets and the banded stilt have webbed front toes. The other stilts have partially webbed toes.

Most species of avocet and stilt are black and white. The American avocet's head and neck are a rusty red in breeding season and grayish white in winter. The red-necked avocet has a reddish brown head and neck.

Avocets and stilts eat small fish, insects, mollusks, and small crustaceans, but they locate their prey in different ways. Avocets sweep their heads from side to side in shallow water and use their curved bills to feel for prey . Stilts locate their prey by sight and snatch it up in their long, straight bills.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct
Status taken from ICUN Redlist. If no status is listed, there is not enough data to establish status, or there is no status data for the species.

US Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in US Endangered in US Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife and NH Fish and Game

New Hampshire Species


 North/Central American Species

None   American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana    Least Concern North America South America
Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus    Least Concern

Species Around the World

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North/Central America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH Species
Banded Stilt -  Cladorhynchus leucocephalus    Least Concern Australia
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus    Least Concern Africa Asia Australia Europe
White-headed Stilt - Himantopus leucocephalus    Least Concern Asia Australia 
Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus    Least Concern North America South America
Black Stilt - Himantopus novaezelandiae    Critically Endangered Australia


Andean  Avocet - Recurvirostra andina    Least Concern South America
Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta    Least Concern Africa Asia Europe
Red-necked Avocet - Recurvirostra novaehollandiae    Least Concern Australia

Additional Information

Resource Key
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