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110 WINTER AVOCETS
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska Sandhills. A flock of migrating American Avocets rise off a Sandhills wetland in mid-October. Elegant and bold, American Avocets stand 15-18 inches tall and are one of North America's tallest shorebirds. It is the only avocet in the world that changes color annually, trading its striking cinnamon-colored head and neck for a more conservative dusky gray during fall and winter. Avocets favor shallow alkaline lakes and wetland complexes and are found during breeding season throughout parts of the American West including the Northern Plains. Their wintering areas stretch from the Texas Gulf Coast, parts of Mexico, Central America and California.