Growing up in Britain gives Pied Avocets something of a air of royalty, birdwise. They are, after all, the symbol of the RSPB, a rare and valuable bird, something to be cherished and protected. The first one I ever saw didn’t live up to this expectation, however. Instead of some attractive East Anglian fen the first Pied Avocet I ever saw was in a ditch in India. Actually, more of an open sewer than a ditch, if I’m honest. Still, they are very attractive birds, even if they are prepared to slum it a bit. The ones I saw earlier this year were not exactly slumming it, as Mai Po Reserve in Hong Kong is a stunning reserve that should be on the bucket list of every birder, and I am grateful for them being the only bird close to the hide when I managed to time my visit to be at the lowest tide!



The Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta

avocet 3

avocet 2

avocet 1

Mai Po

 Mai Po at a very low tide. There could be lots of rarities but they would be very far away.

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.