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42-46 centimeters
77-80 centimeters wingspan

color (adults):

primarily white body, black cap and patches in the wings and back, long bluish legs


invertebrates aquatic animals, such as insects (larva), crustaceans, worms


decline in brackish water regions

Dutch status:

nesting bird, migratory, sometimes winter guests

winter home:

coasts of Southwestern Europe-West Africa, (brackish) tidal flats, river mouths, (brackish) marshes


3-4 eggs

life span:

maximum known age: +27 years

  • Dut: Kluut
  • Eng: (Pied) Avocet
  • Fren: Avocette
  • Ger: Säbelschnäbler
  • Ital: Avocetta
  • Lat: Recurvirostra avosetta
  • Dan: Klyde
  • Nor: Avosett
  • Frisian: Klút
Avocet, ecomare


Avocets are decorative birds with an upturned beak. You often see them in inland brackish waters as they forage for food. They catch their food by slightly opening their bill and swinging their head from side to side. The avocet is named after its black cap, as was once worn by European advocates. Actually, this species is called the pied avocet, pied referring to the black and white coloring.

  • Distribution and habitat
    fighting Avocets, foto fitis, adriaan dijksen

    Almost 25% of the Western European avocets nest in the Netherlands, particularly along the coast. When the birds start to molt (at the end of July), all of the avocets from the North and Baltic Seas gather in the Wadden Sea. The Jadebusen in Germany and the tidal flats near Rømø (Denmark) in particular are important molting grounds. The young birds migrate in September to their winter homes in southern Europe and Senegal. Most of the older birds follow in November. The wadden region is very important for avocets in the autumn. Of the 80,000 European avocets, 15,000 are found in the Netherlands, of which 12,000 in the wadden region. The delta region is especially important in the winter.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • Policy: Target Species List
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive
    • International:Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention, Bonn Convention