Skip to content

Recurvirostra avosetta

warning Regionally Extinct

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot

The Pied Avocet is considered as Regionally Extinct (RE). It became extinct in the early 2000s and since then no nesting attempts have been observed in Israel, although avocets are seen during migration and in the winter. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Near Threatened (NT), because of the nesting attempts in the early 2000s. (Because of its sporadic, irregular breeding in Israel and being at the edge of its global range, it was not considered Critically Endangered.)
RE Current Regional Assessment | NT Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Salt Ponds, Wetlands with Shallow Banks
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder
Nesting In Israel Past Breeder
Migration Types Short Range / Partial
Zoography Zones Mediterranean
Landscape Formations Salt Ponds, Wetlands, Freshwater Bodies, Mud Plain
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Water
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Wetland Drainage & Pollution

The Pied Avocet is a larger wader with a distinctive appearance: contrasting black and white plumage and an up-curved black bill. Its preferred habitats are marshes, riverbanks and lakes. Can also be found in coastal lagoons and inundated fields. Uses its long legs to walk and swim in the shallow water, sweeping its bill from side to side to catch invertebrates with its distinctive bill.

The Pied Avocet was mentioned by Tristram as a resident species in Israel in the 19th century. The first confirmed record of breeding was from the Atlit saltpans in 1961. During the 1970s and 1980s, 1-20 nesting attempts were recorded annually in the Northern Valleys and the Coastal Plain, most of which ended in failure, probably because of rapid fluctuations of the water level in fishponds and reservoirs. The last nesting attempts were recorded in the early 2000s; since 2002, however, no breeding pairs have been seen.

All the Pied Avocet nesting attempts observed in Israel took place in artificial water bodies, such as saltpans, emptied fishponds and reservoirs. These habitats are characterized by rapid fluctuations in their water level, which harms nests and eggs. In addition, the species is probably affected by increased predation pressure by eruptive species such as crows, mongooses and jackals that are known predators of ground-nesting birds.

The Pied Avocet has been extinct as a breeder in Israel for the past two decades. According to existing data, the species nested in Israel intermittently and in small numbers, mainly due to the formation of temporary habitats in fishponds and reservoirs. It is highly probable that the Pied Avocet will return to breed in Israel naturally.

  • אשבול, י. 1999. קן לסייפן. ארץ וטבע, גיליון 64: 21-27. מוסד ביאליק.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

Other Species

Himantopus himantopus
Burhinus oedicnemus
Vanellus vanellus
Charadrius alexandrinus