The Avocet, Know Everything You Didn’t Know About This Elegant Bird

This bird is distinctive for its colors ranging from white to black, are one of the bird species that are in an index of one of the species that is not endangered or threatened. In the following article we will know a little more about this bird belonging to the Recurvirostra genus called the Avocet.

The Avocet

The Avocet is a species of black and white wading bird with a distinctive pattern and an upward curving bill. This Schedule 1 bird species is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolizes the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species class. Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects in the United Kingdom.

The 4 species of avocets are a genus, of the Recurvirostra, of waders in the same avian belonging to the family as the stilts. The name of the genus is derived from the Latin recurvus, meaning “backward curve” and rostrum, “bill”. The common name of this bird is believed to be derived from the Italian word Ferrarese avosetta. The well-known Francis Willughby in the year 1678 noted it as the “Avosetta of the Italians.”

This bird is a large, striking shorebird with long blue-gray legs, a long bill that is recurved and a black and white chevron pattern on its back and wings is one of only 4 Avocet species in the world, the only one with breeding and non-breeding plumages – its head and neck feathers are grayish white which turn cinnamon in early spring as the birds begin to pair and migrate to breeding areas.

The generic name Recurvirostra which comes from the recurved bead of the Avocet, which are used for both visual and tactile feeding of invertebrates. The name Avocet also comes from the Italian avosetta, which has a meaning of ‘Graceful Bird’. Its melodic alarm calls are a distinctive feature of the shallow alkaline wetlands of western and midwestern North America, where it breeds in semi-colonial groups. Find out all about Exotic Birds .

Avocet Biology

Avocets possess legs that are long and tend to sweep their long, thin, curved beads from side to side when feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer. The plumage of these birds is of various colors, on certain occasions they are also with a bit of red.

The members belonging to this genus have webbed feet and swim with great ease. Their diet consists of aquatic insects and other species of small creatures. The pied avocet is the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The 4 species, belonging to the genus Recurvirostra, are:

  • The American Avocet, ( Recurvirostra Americana)
  • Andean Avocet, ( Recurvirostra Andina )
  • The Pied avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta is the one that appears in the logo of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • The Red-necked Avocet, ( Recurvirostra Novaehollandiae )

There is a fossil species of the Recurvirostra Sanctaneboulae Mourer discovered by Chauviré in 1978 from the late Eocene of France.

In these species that inhabit large colonies, they are aggressive, always on the defensive and chase any other species of birds that try to nest near or among them. This often causes the annoying remark “Avocet Exocet” from some British birders.

Such birds had been extinct in the regions of Britain for a long time all due to habitat reclamation and persecution by skin and egg collectors, however during or shortly after what was World War II they began to breed on reclaimed land near the Wash which returned to the marsh to create difficulties for any landing of German invaders.


The different species of Avoceta range over a wide variety of climatic zones from the temperate North Atlantic coasts of Western Europe and the continental steppes of Central Asia through the Mediterranean region south to the tropical and subtropical climates of Eastern and Southern Africa.

In Europe, the Avocet is a bird that breeds on the coasts of Great Britain, in the south of Sweden, in Estonia, in Denmark, in Germany, in France and also in Portugal. In Spain, they breed both on the coast and inland. Avocets of different colors are also native to:

In Austria they are especially numerous at Lake Neusied where more than 500 adult birds were counted in 2004, but breeding success was of some concern as it was low. The Volga delta is one of the most important European breeding sites for the avocet. Learn about the Types of Birds that exist.

Types of Avocets

There are 4 different types of Avocet species which are mentioned below:

The American Avocet

The American Avocet also called Recurvirostra americana is one of the Nearctic wader bird species belonging to the Recurvirostridae family.

This bird tends to be about 40 to 50 cm long. The head and neck of this bird are orange, paler in winter. The wings of this bird are white and black, the latter color mentioned is present on the rest of the body.The black bead is tightly wound and the legs are blue.

The Avocet of Various Colors

This is the Avocet called Recurvirostra avosetta which is the only avocet species living in Europe. Adults have white plumage, except for a black cap and black markings on the wings. This species has a long, curved bill and long blue legs. Juvenile birds are brown where adults wear black, and the white part is often dotted with gray spots.

The Australian Avocet

The Australian Avocet also called Recurvirostra Novaehollandiae is one of the species of waders which belongs to the family Recurvirostridae.

Andean Avocet

The Andean Avocet known by its scientific name Recurvirostra andina is a species of wading bird that belongs to the family Recurvirostridae.

This kind of bird is a kind of small whale, but it is rather squat. Its plumage is of the bicolor type because the wings, back and tail are black – brown, the rest of the plumage is white. The eyes are reddish. The bill is black which is a typical characteristic of Avocets, thin and curled at the end. The legs are gray. This species tends to measure between 43 and 48 cm in height (see article): Black-tailed godwit ).

This species tends to frequent lakes, usually alkaline lakes and shallow streams in high mountains above 3500 meters in arid areas. As its name indicates, it is present in the Andes, in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile and southern Peru. They tend to explore water or mud for aquatic insects and crustaceans.


The most important element of the habitat of the Avocet are feinsedimentige, with a vegetation of waters that are shallow and coastal areas, where its specialized form of foraging is that it can chase it. It finds these territorial conditions especially in shallow bays, estuaries, lagoons and lakes that are also shallow.


The food of both juvenile and adult birds tends to depend largely on the local conditions of the respective habitat. It consists mainly of invertebrates from the fine sediment of the riparian zone and shallow water, but also occasionally from smaller fish. It is palpated and swallowed by the species-typical saber, consisting of a lateral mowing movement of the beak in the sediment or shallow water.

When searching for food in the sediment, approximately 30 cm 2 of mud is sampled during each mowing movement. The spike is about 5 to 7 cm deep in the sediment.


Pairing of these birds tends to begin towards the end of winter, many of the Avocets already arrive paired in the hatchery.

The courtship of these begins shortly after arrival at the breeding sites which is usually a very short group bladder. At shallow points in the water, 3 to 6, but occasionally up to 18 birds gather in a single group.

They perch with their heads turned inward, usually standing in a circular position.

Courtship rituals often include throwing dry grass, fetching water, and violently shaking their heads and bills. Paired birds stay as close as possible to their mate’s side and express their affiliation by squeezing each other as tightly as possible.

Rate this post