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Recurvirostridae – Stilts and Avocets

Pied Avocet in Greece: Photo by Dimitrios Loukas

The Recurvirostridae family includes avocets and stilts, long-legged shorebirds found in wetlands around the world. Avocets are known for their upturned bills, which they use to sweep the water’s surface in search of small invertebrates. Stilts, on the other hand, have straight, needle-like bills and the longest legs relative to their body size of any bird. Both groups wade gracefully through shallow water, displaying striking black-and-white plumage. Their agile foraging and distinctive feeding styles make them captivating birds to watch.

Overview of Recurvirostridae

Stilts and avocets are graceful shorebirds known for their slender bills, long necks, and remarkably long legs. Found in shallow lakes and lagoons around the world, they feed on invertebrates, thriving in areas without fish to avoid competition for food. Stilts hunt by quickly stabbing the water to catch prey, while avocets use their upturned bills to sweep back and forth as they walk, feeling for prey beneath the surface. These birds venture deep into the water, with avocets even swimming across deeper areas using their webbed feet. As opportunistic breeders, they choose isolated nesting sites for protection from land-based predators.