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Bird name:


Recurvirostra avosetta




Avocets and Stilts (Recurvirostridae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Marshes, Estuaries, Lagoons

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial

Egg Colour:

Smooth and tan with dark brown spots and speckles.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:

20 - 28

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Shallow scrape on ground, lining and rim of nest built from marsh vegetation.

Nest Location:

On ground along a shoreline; in the open or in short vegetation near water; sometimes on small raised mound in water.




Avocet: Large shorebird with very thin, upturned bill. Mostly white with black patches in wings, on head, and on the nape. Bill black, legs gray. Legs project beyond tail during strong, swift flight. Sexes very similar but female has light grey eye ring. Juvenile is plumaged like adult but with some brown markings in the wings.

Range and Habitat

Avocet: Breeds across much of Europe and Central Asia. Occurs as both a migrant and a resident breeder in England. Found breeding along the east coast in summer; migrants head for the southwest coastline in winter. Can be seen wading in mudflats, lagoons, sandy beaches and estuaries. Some birds winter in Africa.

Breeding and Nesting

Avocet: Nests constructed on exposed mud or sand of shoreline, scraped onto open ground, often lined with vegetation. They are situated in small groups, sometimes with other waders. The nest is added to during incubation, especially if water rises. Hatchlings may leave the nest within a few hours.

Foraging and Feeding

Avocet: Feeds on aquatic insects and larvae, crustaceans and worms. Invertebrates, especially insects, crustaceans, and worms. In muddy water, they forage by touch with their long bills. Sometimes form feeding flocks of several hundred.


Avocet: Song is a loud, repeated "wheep."

Similar Species

Avocet: The Black-winged Stilt has red or pink legs, all-black wings, and lacks the upcurve on the bill which is distinctive of the Avocet.

Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX