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Conservation status: Amber

A distinctively-patterned black and white wader with a long up-curved beak. It is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species. Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.



Latin name

Recurvirostra avosetta


Stilts and avocets (Recurvirostridae)

Where to see them

Coastal lagoons on the east coast in summer and the Exe estuary in winter.

When to see them

Along the east coast of England in summer and in the South-West in winter.

What they eat

Aquatic insects and their larvae, crustaceans and worms.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
38-57,000 pairs1,500 pairs7,500 birds-


In the UK
East and south coasts of England
In Europe
Southern Scandinavia to the Mediterranean
Europe, Africa and western Asia


Marco Dragonetti, Xeno-canto