Pied avocet

One of the very few birds with an upturned bill

Andreas Trepte

A captivating species of wading bird native to the Old World. Characterized by its striking black and white plumage and its distinctive upturned, slender beak, the Pied Avocet cuts a graceful figure as it forages along the shores of wetlands and estuaries.

Both male and female Pied Avocets sport similar plumage adorned with bold contrasting colors of black and white. However, keen observers may note subtle differences, such as the slightly shorter and more curved beak of the female compared to the male. These avian beauties are renowned for their elegant appearance and their graceful movements as they wade through shallow waters in search of prey.

The preferred habitats of the Pied Avocet vary throughout its range, but they typically favor flat, open environments with brackish or salty waters and sparse vegetation for breeding purposes. Breeding colonies are commonly found in locations such as lakes, lagoons, saltpans, and estuaries where suitable nesting sites and food resources are abundant. During the breeding season, these birds meticulously construct nests on the ground, often lining them with twigs, grasses, and other natural materials.

Outside of the breeding season, Pied Avocets may frequent muddy tidal flats, where they use their specialized bills to probe the substrate for invertebrates, crustaceans, and small fish. While they primarily inhabit coastal areas, they may occasionally venture into freshwater habitats such as lakes and rivers, particularly during migration or in search of suitable foraging grounds.

Despite their preference for coastal environments, Pied Avocets exhibit remarkable adaptability and can be found in a wide range of geographical locations. From the marshes of Europe to the wetlands of Asia and even the high elevations of Afghanistan, these birds have demonstrated their ability to thrive in diverse habitats across their global range.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2020
Breeding
Albania
2020
Algeria
2020
Angola
2020
Armenia
2020
Austria
2020
Breeding
Azerbaijan
2020
Bahrain
2020
Bangladesh
2020
Non-Breeding
Belgium
2020
Benin
2020
Non-Breeding
Bhutan
2020
Non-Breeding
Botswana
2020
Breeding
Bulgaria
2020
Burkina Faso
2020
Non-Breeding
Burundi
2020
Vagrant
Cameroon
2020
Non-Breeding
Central Af. Rep.
2020
Non-Breeding
Chad
2020
Non-Breeding
China
2020
Breeding
Croatia
2020
Breeding
Cyprus
2020
Czechia
2020
Breeding
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2020
Vagrant
Denmark
2020
Djibouti
2020
Egypt
2020
Eritrea
2020
Breeding
Estonia
2020
Breeding
Eswatini
2020
Passage
Ethiopia
2020
Faroe Islands
2020
Vagrant
Finland
2020
Vagrant
France
2020
Gambia
2020
Non-Breeding
Georgia
2020
Breeding
Germany
2020
Gibraltar
2020
Vagrant
Greece
2020
Guinea-Bissau
2020
Non-Breeding
Guinea
2020
Non-Breeding
Hungary
2020
Iceland
2020
Vagrant
India
2020
Non-Breeding
Iran
2020
Iraq
2020
Israel
2020
Italy
2020
Jordan
2020
Kazakhstan
2020
Breeding
Kenya
2020
Kuwait
2020
Kyrgyzstan
2020
Passage
Latvia
2020
Vagrant
Lebanon
2020
Passage
Lesotho
2020
Liberia
2020
Vagrant
Libya
2020
Non-Breeding
Luxembourg
2020
Vagrant
Madagascar
2020
Vagrant
Malawi
2020
Mali
2020
Non-Breeding
Mauritania
2020
Non-Breeding
Moldova
2020
Breeding
Mongolia
2020
Breeding
Montenegro
2020
Morocco
2020
Non-Breeding
Mozambique
2020
Myanmar
2020
Non-Breeding
Namibia
2020
Netherlands
2020
Niger
2020
Non-Breeding
Nigeria
2020
Non-Breeding
North Macedonia
2020
Norway
2020
Breeding
Oman
2020
Pakistan
2020
Poland
2020
Breeding
Portugal
2020
Qatar
2020
Romania
2020
Russia
2020
Breeding
Rwanda
2020
Vagrant
Saudi Arabia
2020
Senegal
2020
Non-Breeding
Serbia
2020
Sierra Leone
2020
Non-Breeding
Slovakia
2020
Breeding
Slovenia
2020
Somalia
2020
Non-Breeding
South Africa
2020
Breeding
South Sudan
2020
Non-Breeding
Spain
2020
Sri Lanka
2020
Non-Breeding
Sudan
2020
Sweden
2020
Switzerland
2020
Non-Breeding
Syria
2020
Tajikistan
2020
Breeding
Tanzania
2020
Tunisia
2020
Turkey
2020
Turkmenistan
0
Official estimate
EX
2020
Extinct locally
UAE
2020
Uganda
2020
Ukraine
2020
United Kingdom
2020
Uzbekistan
2020
Breeding
Yemen
2020
Zambia
2020
Zimbabwe
2020

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic (size)

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No