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Recurvirostra avosetta

warning Regionally Extinct

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

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 Global Assessment

Habitats Salt Ponds, Wetlands with Shallow Banks
Presence In Israel Summer
Breeding In Israel Bred in the past
Migration Types Short Range / Partial
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean
Landscape Types Wetlands, Fresh Water, Salt Ponds, 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

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

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

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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