Female Avocet

Avocet

Scientific name: Recurvirostra avosetta

Did you know: Avocets, often recognised for their elegant stature, were once extinct in the UK but have flourished into a triumphant conservation tale!

What Do Avocets Look Like? (how to identify them)

Avocets stand out with their striking black and white colouring and long, slender upturned bills.

These medium-sized waders display a unique pattern with a black cap that extends down their neck, contrasting vividly against their mainly white bodies. 

Their lengthy, pale blue legs further accentuate their delicate appearance, making them unmistakable among UK waders.

Differences Between Male And Female Avocets

Male and female Avocets are similar in appearance, but a keen observer might notice that females sport slightly shorter and more curved bills compared to their male counterparts.

What Do Avocets Eat?

Avocets have a diet primarily consisting of aquatic insects, small crustaceans, and worms. 

They are often seen sweeping their curved bills through shallow waters to sift out these invertebrates, a feeding technique that is as effective as it is mesmerising to watch.

Where Do Avocets Live? (inc. migration info)

Avocets are primarily found in the coastal areas of the UK, especially around the east coast during the breeding season and southern estuaries in winter. 

They favour shallow coastal lagoons for breeding and are increasingly spotted in inland saline lagoons. Migration patterns show that during winter, the UK population is bolstered by Avocets arriving from continental Europe.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Avocets)

Avocets communicate with a variety of calls which are typically loud and clear. Their calls are essential during breeding season, serving as alarms, mating calls, and communication between mates and offspring. 

The Avocet’s song, a series of repetitive high-pitched notes, adds an auditory charm to their elegant visual presence.

Fun Avocet Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Avocets have webbed feet, not just for swimming but also for stirring up mud, making it easier to find food.
  • Baby Avocets are incredibly independent; they can walk, swim, and feed themselves shortly after hatching.
  • Their upturned bill isn’t just for show; it’s perfectly shaped to help them catch food in muddy waters.
  • Avocets are social birds, often found in large flocks during winter, which helps them stay safe from predators.
  • They can be quite noisy, especially during the breeding season, making a variety of sounds from loud calls to gentle murmurs.
  • Despite their delicate appearance, Avocets are quite robust and adept at coping with the challenging environments of coastal habitats.
  • Each Avocet’s bill is unique, like a human fingerprint, varying slightly in curve and length.

Avocet Video

Facts About The Avocet

Diet: They eat aquatic insects and their larvae, as well as crustaceans and worms.
Bird Family: Avocets and stilts
Length: 41 - 45cm
Wingspan: 76 - 80cm
Weight: 255 - 290g
Scientific Name: Recurvirostra avosetta

The Avocet Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Avocet Images

Male Avocet Male
Female Avocet Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile