Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)Other Names
French: Avocette élégante
The Pied Avocet is a large wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae.
Adults have white plumage except for a black cap and black patches in the wings and on the back. They have long, upturned bills and long, bluish legs. Juvenile birds are brown where the adult is black, and the juvenile's white plumage is often blotched with greyer patches.
Their breeding habitat is in shallow lakes with brackish water and bare mud exposed. They nest on open ground, often in small groups, sometimes with other waders. 3-5 eggs are laid in a lined scrape or on a mound of vegetation.
These birds forage in shallow brackish water or on mud flats, often sweeping their bills from side to side in water. They mainly eat crustaceans and insects. The call of the Avocet is a loud klute-klute-klute.
This species gets its English and scientific names from its black cap, as once worn by European advocates or lawyers.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 210,000-460,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
(BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Recurvirostra avosetta. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/2/2007