Recurvirostra avocetta, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 256 (1766) ; Naum. viii. p. 213, Taf. 204 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 339, pl. xcii. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 308 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 53 ; Dresser, vii. p. 577, pl. 534 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 461 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiv. p. 326 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 248 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 853 ; Saunders, p. 561 ; Lilford, v. p. 49, pl. 19 ; Poynting, p. 79, pl. 19.
Avocctte a, nuque noire, French ; Alfayate, Frade, Portug. ; Boceta, Span. ; Avocetta, Ital. ; Avosett-sabler, German ; Kluit, Dutch ; Klyde, Dan, and Norweg. ; Skarflacka, Swed. ; Schilok-liovka, Russ. ; Bou-mehet, Moor. ; Halebi, Arab. ; Kusya-chaha, Hindu.
Male ad. (Spain). Crown, sides of head to below the eye, nape, hind neck, primaries, and wing-coverts, except those at the base of the wing, black ; rest of plumage white ; beak slender, curved upwards, black ; legs light blue ; iris reddish brown. Culmen 4.0, wing 8.5, tail 3.45, tarsus 3.65 inch. Sexes alike. In the winter the black on the upper parts is sullied with grey, and the middle tail-feathers are tinged with brownish grey.
Hab. Europe, north to Southern Sweden ; formerly an in¬habitant of, but now only an accidental visitant to Britain ; Africa in winter as far youth as the Cape Colony ; Asia, east to Mongolia and China, north to Dauria, south to India and Ceylon.
Frequents damp marshy localities, and is exceedingly shy and wary. Its note is a clear, loud kluit, uttered several times in succession, and its food consists of small aquatic insects which it obtains from the surface by swaying sideways with the bill, the action reminding one forcibly of a mower cutting grass. It wades far in the water, and will when necessary swim which it does with ease. It breeds in May, the nest being a depression in the soil, or the dry mud near the water, scantily lined with a few grass-bents, and the. eggs, 3 to 4 in number, are clay-buff or stone-ochre with a faint greyish tinge, with blackish grey underlying shell-markings and bold black surface spots and blotches, and measure about 2.1 by 1.5.
1046. Recurvirostra avocetta