Friday, 27 October 2017

The Avocet

Partner-who-loves-tea and I have just had a week away and one of the places we visited was Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water.  One of the birds we saw there was the Pied Avocet.  The four species of avocets are a genus, Recurvirostra, of waders in the same avian family as the stilts. The genus name is from Latin recurvus, "curved backwards" and rostrum, "bill".  The common name is thought to be derived from the Italian (Ferrarese) word avosetta.   Francis Willughby in 1678 noted it as the "Avosetta of the Italians".   

Avocets have long legs and they sweep their long, thin, upcurved bills from side to side when feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer.

The Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta ) is a distinctively-patterned black and white wader with a long up-curved beak. It is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species.

They had been extinct in Britain for a long time because of land reclamation of their habitat and persecution by skin and egg collectors, but during or soon after World War II started breeding on reclaimed land near the Wash which was returned to salt marsh to make difficulties for any landing German invaders.  Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.

Avocets are found along the east coast of England in summer and in the Exe estuary in winter. 



  1. That's an attractive, eye catching bird. Looks sort of quirky to me. Love his feet and upswept bill. Pretty colouring, too.

  2. They are beautiful, i'm so glad they are being conserved and watched out for now.

  3. Beautiful birds! Isn't it wonderful how different species are so perfectly well equipped for their particular habitat?

  4. I've never seen this bird before! How lovely and quirky!


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