Avocet, Wading in water at Havergate Island

Where and what do avocets eat?

Avocets feed by wading in the shallow water at the edge of a lagoon or in tidal mud

How avocets eat

There are two feeding methods. In clear water, avocets feed by sight by picking prey from the surface of water or mud. In poor visibility and when locating prey from within the sediments, they forage by touch, sweeping the long, upcurved bill from side to side through water or loose sediment to locate hidden prey.

In deeper water they swim readily and buoyantly, up-ending like a duck to reach food below the surface. At times large feeding flocks will assemble - sometimes several hundred strong - to feed co-operatively on items such as shrimps on the edge of a rising tide.

Avocet on nest with chicks

What avocets eat

The primary food is invertebrates, especially crustaceans and worms. In fresh water they also take insects found on the surface or within the top layers of the bottom sediments.

 Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta on mud, Exminster Marshes RSPB reserve