The pied avocet
Writer: Isaac Cohen | Editor: Ye Shangqing | From: Shenzhen Daily
A pied avocet is searching for prey in the Shenzhen Bay area in Nanshan District.
Shenzhen hosts dozens of migratory bird species during the winter months, and if you have been to the Shenzhen Bay Park area to observe them, you might have come across the fabulous pied avocets.
The pied avocet (Recurvirostra avocetta), measuring 45 cm long, has long thin legs. The birds move their curved pointy beak (about 8cm) from side to side in shallow waters, using it as a shovel in search of small invertebrate animals like insects and crustaceans hiding in the mud.
The word “pied” in animals is generally associated with having black and white colorations, and the pied avocet is aptly named. Its entire body is covered by white feathers except that it has a black cap over its head, black feathers on the tip of the wings and also a black tail.
Pied avocets start their breeding season around April and it continues until August. During that time, they build their nests in large colonies on open areas covered with short vegetation. They will normally lay up to four eggs per clutch that both parents will incubate for about three to four weeks. Chicks are precocious and ready to go on their own really quick.
Migration is important for the survival of the species and it’s our job to help in the preservation of their habitats. That way, they can enjoy the warm shores of our city every winter for many years to come.