Avocet

Avocet

Overview
The four species of Avocets (icon) are a genus, Recurvirostra, of wader
Wader
Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

s in the same avian
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

 family as the stilt
Stilt
Stilt is a common name for several species of birds in the family Recurvirostridae, which also includes those known as avocets. They are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm or hot climates....

s.

Avocets 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 wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s they prefer. The plumage
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

 is pied, sometimes also with some red.

Members of this species have webbed feet and readily swim.
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Encyclopedia
The four species of Avocets (icon) are a genus, Recurvirostra, of wader
Wader
Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

s in the same avian
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

 family as the stilt
Stilt
Stilt is a common name for several species of birds in the family Recurvirostridae, which also includes those known as avocets. They are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm or hot climates....

s.

Avocets 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 wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s they prefer. The plumage
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

 is pied, sometimes also with some red.

Members of this species have webbed feet and readily swim. Their diet consists of aquatic insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s and other small creatures.
They nest on the ground in loose colonies. In estuarine settings they may feed on exposed bay mud
Bay mud
Bay mud consists of thick deposits of soft, unconsolidated silty clay, which is saturated with water; these soil layers are situated at the bottom of certain estuaries, which are normally in temperate regions that have experienced cyclical glacial cycles...

s or mudflat
Mudflat
Mudflats or mud flats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of...

s.

The Pied Avocet
Pied Avocet
The Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, is a large black and white wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae. They breed in temperate Europe and western and Central Asia. It is a migratory species and most winter in Africa or southern Asia...

 is the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903.The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year . Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years...

.

The four species, all in the genus Recurvirostra, are:
  • Pied Avocet
    Pied Avocet
    The Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, is a large black and white wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae. They breed in temperate Europe and western and Central Asia. It is a migratory species and most winter in Africa or southern Asia...

    , Recurvirostra avosetta
  • American Avocet
    American Avocet
    The American Avocet is a large wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae.This avocet has long, thin, gray legs, giving it its colloquial name, "blue shanks". The plumage is black and white on the back with white on the underbelly. The neck and head are cinnamon colored in the summer...

    , Recurvirostra americana
  • Red-necked Avocet
    Red-necked Avocet
    The Red-necked Avocet is a water bird found throughout Australia, except for the northern parts of the Northern Territory....

    , Recurvirostra novaehollandiae
  • Andean Avocet
    Andean Avocet
    The Andean Avocet is a large wader in the avocet and stilt bird family, Recurvirostridae. It is resident in the Andes, breeding above 3500 m in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile and southern Peru.-Description:...

    , 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
Exocet
The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Hundreds were fired in combat during the 1980s.-Etymology:...

" from some British birdwatchers.

They had been extinct in Britain for a long time because of land reclamation
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 of their habitat and persecution by skin and egg collector
Oology
Oology is a branch of ornithology studying bird eggs, nests and breeding behavior. Oology can also refer to the hobby of collecting wild birds' eggs, sometimes called birdnesting or egging, which is now illegal in many jurisdictions.-As a science:Oology became increasingly popular in Britain and...

s, but during or soon after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 started breeding on reclaimed land near the Wash
The Wash
The Wash is the square-mouthed bay and estuary on the northwest margin of East Anglia on the east coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire. It is among the largest estuaries in the United Kingdom...

 which was returned to salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

 to make difficulties for any landing German invaders
Operation Sealion
Operation Sea Lion was Germany's plan to invade the United Kingdom during the Second World War, beginning in 1940. To have had any chance of success, however, the operation would have required air and naval supremacy over the English Channel...

.