Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta flying over pools.

Avocets and stilts

Elegant, long-legged wading birds; avocets have slender, upcurved bills adapted for a sideways sweep across the surface of wet mud or through shallow water to find food, whereas stilts (rare in the UK) have especially long, slender legs with short toes and needle-like bills.

Essentially black and white birds, strikingly patterned, living on shallow lagoons and lakes, saltpans and similar areas, and, in winter, on muddy estuaries. There are a few similar species elsewhere in the world.