Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Date created: 23-January-2017

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Recurvirostridae
BTO Codes: AV, AVOCE EURING No: 4560
Number in Britain: 1500 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Least Concern
Global: Least Concern (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 44 cm Wingspan: 78 cm Weight: M/F: 280 g    
Scientific name from: L.: recurvus=bent back + rostris=bill and Venetian name for Avocet
World Distribution: BREEDS Europe, c Asia, WINTERS to s Africa & s Asia
Habitat: Mudflats, lagoons, sandy beaches
Diet: Invertebrates, especially insects, crustaceans, worms, but also small fish; sweeps bill from side to side, prey located by touch
TitBit: The Avocet colonised Britain when coastal marshes in East Anglia were flooded to provide a defence against possible invasion by the Germans.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1500 Pairs in
    Winter: 7500 individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    Passage: 1700 individuals
    First Record: 1666
    First Breeding Record: Suffolk (after extinct 1893) 1941
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Winter Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Breeding Range Decline (1981-2010), Recent Winter Range Decline (1981-2010),
   Previous Assessments: 2009-2014 AMBER     2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries
European Population Size:
    Summer: 37 to 54 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 50 x 35 mm Egg Weight: 31.7 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 23
Clutch Size: 3 - 4 eggs
Incubation: 23- 25 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 35 - 42days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.780 ± 0.050       
Juvenile Survival: 0.410 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: Typical Lifespan: No data
Maximum Age from Ringing: 23 years 9 months 27 days (set in 2014)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: E
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Pied Avocet
Gaelic: Gob-ceàrr Welsh: Cambig
Danish: Klyde Dutch: Kluut
Finnish: Avosetti French: Avocette élégante
German: Säbelschnäbler Hungarian: Gulipán
Icelandic: Bjúgnefja Irish: Abhóiséad
Italian: Avocetta Norwegian: Avosett
Polish: Szablodziób zwyczajny Portuguese: Alfaiate
Spanish: Avoceta Swedish: Skärfläcka
Local Names: Scooper, Crooked-bill

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   IWSG 2005 Avocets breeding in Western Europe: IWSG Workshop 27 September 1999 Wader Study Group Bulletin 107:57-112
   Hill, D. 1989 The Avocet Shire Publications, Princes Risborough [Jour, S.]
Links from ConservationEvidence.com:
See Also:
Google Scholar search for scientific papers
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides