© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.
- Name also: Pied Avocet
- Family: Avocets – Recurvirostridae
- Appearance: A large white and black wader with a long, strikingly upcurved bluish grey bill and long, pale bluish grey legs.
- Size: Length 42–46 cm, wingspan 67–77 cm, weight 225–400 g.
- Nest: In a depression on sandy ground with no nest material.
- Breeding: 3–4 eggs laid in April–May, incubated by both parents for 23–25 days. Fledglings leave the nest after hatching and quickly learn to forage for food. They learn to fly within 35–42 days.
- Occurrence: Seen in Finland only in small numbers but annually during spring migration. Breeds around shallow sea bays and low-lying shores. Nearest nesting areas in Estonia, Southern Sweden and Denmark.
- Migration: Spring migration April–May, when birds may be seen in Finland. Autumn migration August–October. Winters along shores in Western Europe and North Africa.
- Diet: Invertebrates, found in shallow water or on silt by sifting sideways with bill in a scything-like action.
- Calls: Whistling call similar to call of Oystercatcher “plit plit plit”.
Avocets’ plumage is mainly pure white with starkly contrasting black colouring on the top and back of the head, two lengthwise slanting black stripes on their backs, and black wingtips. Their long and clearly upturned bills are dark bluish grey. Their long, pale bluish grey legs trail well behind their tails when in flight. Juvenile avocets have more brownish plumage. Avocets’ irises are brown (female) or red or reddish brown (male).