The avocet is a wading bird which we see occasionally at Grimsargh Wetlands in the spring. It tends to stay close to the coastlines, but we see them here owing to our proximity to the local Lancashire coast. It uses its long legs to stand in shallow water and uses its distinctive bill to find food in the mud. They eat aquatic insects, worms and crustaceans. Did you know the avocet was once extinct in the UK? That means there were no birds left here at all! Thankfully, due to a very successful conservation project by the RSPB, we now have avocet populations around the UK.
Avocet facts and statistics
• Length 42 cm to 45cm
• Wingspan 77cm to 80cm
• Diet: aquatic insects, worms and crustaceans
How to identify
The avocet is mostly white with a black cap and bill. Its wings have a black outline around the tips. A distinctive feature are the long blue legs, which enable the avocet to stand in shallow water while sweeping their bill around to stir up sediment and filter out food items.
A bird that was once extinct in the UK, the avocet remains on the Amber watchlist.