American avocets are so pretty you’d think looks alone would allow them to attract a mate. The common shorebirds also have a mating display that’s one of the most interesting in American birding.

To get the male’s attention, the female will stretch out into an almost flat posture with her long bill and head almost in the water.

After a few more moves by male and female, they breed then wander move off with their bills crossed, and the male with one wing over the female’s back.

Kansas Kritters-Avocets

The main nesting range of American avocets is in the American west. Their preferred habitat is the shallow water of marshes and lakes.

The Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in central Kansas have thousands of avocets migrate through in the spring and fall. Both wetlands also host nesting colonies of avocets.

Avocets will also nest on the playas, (shallow, natural lakes) in central and western Kansas when rainfall is plentiful.