Belongs to: breeding waders

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

BoCC Amber list


Best time to see: Apr to Aug

Key facts

Large elegant black-and-white wader, symbol of the RSPB: its recovery was the RSPB's first great success

In Essex, breeds on shallow brackish or freshwater lagoons near the coast

Winters on local estuaries and on estuaries in SW Britain

Recognition

Strongly patterned black-and-white wader with long blue-grey legs and long black up-turned bill; 42 cm

A filter feeder, often seen head down in shallow water, moving its head from side to side with scything movements

Eats crustaceans and insects; flies with legs trailing

Lifecycle

Nest on a pile of dead vegetation on a sandbank or on a tussock

One brood of 4 buff eggs with dark spots, late April–May

Chicks are tended by both parents and fly about 6 weeks after hatching

  • Main photo
  • with eggs

Photo © David Harrison

Photo © Alan Williams