Recurvirostra Linnaeus, 1758
Systema Naturae ed.10 p.151
The four species of Avocets (pronounced /ˈævəsɛt/) are a genus, Recurvirostra, of waders in the same avian family as the stilts.
Members of this species have webbed feet and 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
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.
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.
1. ^ BBC TV 1 program The One Show, 7-7.30 pm 16 January 2008
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