131 (Pied) Avocet
(Recurvirostra avosetta)


42-46cm. In quick or distant view, can be overlooked as a gull because of general white appearance. Otherwise unmistakable pattern of black and white, slender upcurved black bill and long pale blue legs. In flight, pied pattern distinctive, though at long range can be taken for a Goosander or Shelduck. Adult: male told by longer bill which appears less sharply curved, and head markings always black and neat; female has shorter, sharply curved bill, and head markings are sometimes less clear-cut and tinged brownish.


In Hungary the Pied Avocet is a regular breeder on alkali lakes, drained fishponds, sedimentation ponds and flooded fields, primarily on the Great Plain especially in Kiskunság. The population has recently increased. Colonised the Hortobágy in the 1970s and the vicinity of lake Ferto in the 1990s. Migrant. It arrives in March and leaves Hungary in October and November, but, depending on the water conditions small flocks can be seen in early December as well. After breeding gathers at drained fishponds and alkali lakes on the Great Plain, sometimes for several months.

Can be found in the following IBAs

07 BA)

131 (Pied) Avocet pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008