Avocets

Where to see avocets

Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

The avocet

Once extinct from British shores, the avocet made a comeback thanks to the work of conservation bodies including The Wildlife Trusts, and surprisingly, the Second World War. Looking dapper in black and white with a neat black cap, the avocet can be spotted wading and sweeping their characteristically up-curved beaks back and forth to catch the small invertebrate life that makes up their diet.

Catch this symbol of bird conservation at the beginning of June to get the best chance of seeing newly hatched fluffy chicks.

Find avocets near you

Birds of shallow coastal lagoons, estuaries and increasingly inland wetlands, you can find these unmistakeable black and white waders at any of the Wildlife Trusts sites listed below, including the UK’s first successful inland breeding avocets in land-locked Worcestershire. Don't forget your binoculars!

What to look for

The avocet can be found wading and feeding in the shallows. Catch the elegant avocet at the beginning of June to see newly hatched chicks. Despite impressions of class and elegance, avocets display a feistier side during the nesting season, with adults shrieking and dive-bombing passing crows or harriers, or mobbing fellow wading oystercatchers and redshanks. Even shelduck families are driven off, adults and ducklings alike!

If you can't get to these places

If you can't get to any of these places, keep your eyes peeled between April and May during their migration period when they can turn up on gravel pits and wetlands anywhere. 

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