Readers’ wildlife photos

June 12, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today is Sunday, which means we get to see a themed batch of bird photos from John Avise. John’s notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Recurved and Decurved Bills

Birds’ bills come in many shapes, two of the most interesting of which are recurved (curved upward) and decurved (curved downward).  Diverse bird groups, ranging from wrens and thrashers to shorebirds, include at least some species with curved bills.  In such taxa, both the bill
length and the degree of curvature can vary greatly from species to species, ranging from short and nearly straight to long and almost semicircular.

This batch of photos offers several North American species with a variety of recurved or decurved bills.  When watching birds, it’s also fun to study how the various species utilize these remarkable eating utensils.   For example, the American Avocets feed by swishing their recurved bills back-and-forth through the detritus of shallow waters to snare worms and other goodies.

All of these photos were taken either in Florida or California.

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana):

American Avocet head shot:

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus):

Avocet and Stilt in the same picture.  Appropriately, both of these species are in the taxonommic family Recurvirostridae:

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa):

Clapper Rail head shot:

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus):

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus):

California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum):

California Thrasher head shot:

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna):

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana):


Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus):

White Ibis adult (Eudocimus albus):

White Ibis juvenile:

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi):

Whimbrel (Numerius phaeopus):

Long-billed Curlew (Numerius americana):

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa, in front) and Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus, in back):

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Wonderful bunch of photos!
    The long thin beaks on a lot of these birds look so delicate and fragile, it seems they could so easily be damaged out there. Especially the American Avocet and Stilt.

  2. These were great, and I even knew a few of them! I find birds with recurved bills “cute”…I wonder why? Maybe because it sort of looks like the birds are smiling…

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