name = Avocets

image_width = 250px
image_caption = Pied Avocet
("Recurvirostra avosetta")
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Charadriiformes
familia = Recurvirostridae
genus = "Recurvirostra"
genus_authority = Linnaeus, 1758
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision =
*"Recurvirostra avosetta"
*"Recurvirostra americana"
*"Recurvirostra novaehollandiae"
*"Recurvirostra andina"
The four species of Avocets are waders in the same avian family as the stilts. They are found in warm or hot climates.

They have long legs and long, thin, upcurved bills (giving their scientific name "Recurvirostra") which they sweep from side to side when feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer. The plumage is pied, sometimes also with some red.

The avocets have webbed feet and they will readily swim. Their diet consists of aquatic insects and other small creatures.

They nest on the ground in loose colonies. In estuarine settings they may feed on exposed bay muds or mudflats.

The Pied Avocet is the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The four species, all in the genus "Recurvirostra", are:
*Pied Avocet, "Recurvirostra avosetta"
*American Avocet, "Recurvirostra americana"
*Red-necked Avocet, "Recurvirostra novaehollandiae"
*Andean Avocet, "Recurvirostra andina"

In a large colony they are aggressively defensive and chase off any other species of birds that try to nest among or near them. That causes the annoyed remark "Avocet : Exocet" from some British birdwatchers. [BBC TV 1 program "The One Show", 7-7.30 pm 16 January 2008]

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.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • avocet — ► NOUN ▪ a long legged wading bird with an upturned bill. ORIGIN French …   English terms dictionary

  • avocet — [av′ə set΄] n. [Fr avocette < It avocetta] any of a genus (Recurvirostra, family Recurvirostridae) of long legged shorebirds with webbed feet and a slender bill that curves upward …   English World dictionary

  • avocet — /av euh set /, n. any of several long legged, web footed shorebirds constituting the genus Recurvirostra, having a long, slender, upward curving bill. [1760 70; < F avocette, prob. erroneous sp. for NL avosetta < It < Upper It ( < Venetian)] * *… …   Universalium

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