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Pied Avocet

From Opus

AdultPhoto  © by the late MahslebMinsmere, Suffolk, UK; May 2016
Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; May 2016
Recurvirostra avosetta


[edit] Identification

Length 42-45 cm (16½-17¾, wingspan 67-77 cm, weight 225-400 g
White plumage, black cap, black patches in the wings and on the back. Long, upturned bills (recurved) and long, bluish-grey legs.
In juveniles, the white above is often mottled with grey-brown patches.

[edit] Distribution

Group in winterPhoto  ©  by Alok TewariGurgaon Rural, Haryana-Delhi Border, India, January-2019
Group in winter
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon Rural, Haryana-Delhi Border, India, January-2019

Scarce breeder with patchy and discontinuous range in Europe, Africa and Asia. In northern Europe, breeds on muddy coasts and locally inland, from England and northern France to Germany and Denmark, south Sweden, the islands of Öland and Gotland and west Estonia. Populations currently expanding, and recently found breeding for the first time in Slovenia, Poland, northwest and northeast England, and south Wales. Further south breeds on the northern Biscay coast of France and in the Mediterranean in Spain, France and Sardinia, the north Adriatic coast of Italy, in Hungary and northern Greece. Also breeds from the Danube Delta in Romania, north around the Black Sea coast and east to the Caspian and from there in a discontinous band through Central Asia including Mongolia and northern China. In Turkey breeds mainly in Central Anatolia, also in the far east of the country and in Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Africa breeds in Tunisia and in Sinai, possibly also Algeria and from Eritrea through Eastern Africa to South Africa.

Photo ©  by the late MahslebTitchwell, Norfolk
Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Titchwell, Norfolk

Migrant or partial migrant in northern parts of range but dispersive in the south, leaving breeding grounds in late July-September. Small numbers winter in northwest Europe from southern England southward, but many more in Iberia and northwest Africa, Egypt and Iraq. Big numbers wintering in western Africa, mainly at the coast, and in Asia in Pakistan, India and China. Some birds stay year around in the wintering grounds. Return movement begins as early as late February but most takes place in April.

As a vagrant recorded north to Iceland and Faroes, on the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Thailand and Japan.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Shallow water, muddy and sandy shores, estuaries, mudflats and saltmarshes.

[edit] Behaviour

JuvenilePhoto  ©  by IanFGreatham Creek, Durham, UK, July 2008
Photo © by IanF
Greatham Creek, Durham, UK, July 2008

[edit] Breeding

The nest may be a scrape (lined or unlined) or a mound of vegetation beside water. They will also use artifical rafts, with shingle and vegetation added. The clutch consists of 3-4 buff eggs with black marks.

[edit] Diet

These birds forage in shallow brackish water or on mud flats, often sweeping their bills from side to side in water. Diet includes crustaceans and insects.

[edit] Vocalisation

The call of the Avocet is a loud klute-klute-klute.

Listen in an external program
Soft communicating calls in the winter habitat, in the recording below :

Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Basai Wetland, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, December-2015

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. RSPB
  3. BirdLife International

[edit] External Links


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