Family Avocets, Stilts (Recurvirostridae)

Least Concern

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)


French: Avocette élégante German: Säbelschnäbler Spanish: Avoceta común
Other common names: Eurasian Avocet

Recurvirostra Avosetta


, 1758,

southern Europe = Italy


Clinal increase in size from W Europe E across Asia. Monotypic.


Europe through W & C Asia to SE Siberia and NE China, and locally through N Africa to E & S Africa, Arabian Penisula and NW India. Winters from W Europe and Africa through Middle East to India, C Myanmar and SE China.

Descriptive notes

42–45 cm; 195–397 g; tarsus 85–98 mm in male, 77–105 mm in female; wingspan 67–80 cm. Unmistakable; mainly white with black forehead, crown to... read more


Most-frequently heard call a continuous repeated mellow “kluuu” or “kluit”. When excited, gives a... read more


Breeds in flat, open areas typically at shallow saline lakes, lagoons, pools, saltpans and... read more

Food and feeding

Carnivorous, taking great variety of mainly aquatic invertebrates 4–15 mm long, particularly aquatic insects, crustaceans and worms,... read more


Season Apr–Aug in Eurasia; Jan, Apr, Jun–Jul in E Africa; Aug in Zambia and mainly Jul–Nov across S Africa. Seasonally... read more


Variable. N temperate birds mainly migrate Aug–Oct to tropical and warm temperate regions,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Extensive range, but previously more than half of population reckoned to breed in Europe; locally abundant in several parts of Africa... read more

Recommended citation

Pierce, R.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 February 2020).