Red-necked Avocet

Recurvirostra novaehollandiae

Red-necked Avocets. Photo: John Spiers

Avocets are daytime foragers, feeding on small aquatic invertebrates which they catch in a scything movement of their bill.

A striking bird, you can imagine what a flock of 5,000 Red-necked Avocets would look like. Nowadays they are mainly seen in smaller parties, but are nonetheless still exciting to encounter.

Red-necked Avocet. Photo: John Spiers


The Red-necked Avocet is a large, handsome wader whose chestnut head and neck contrasts markedly with its white body, black flight feathers and parallel black stripes on the back. A pair of long pale bluish legs, white eye-rings and the characteristic thin, upturned beak complete the ensemble.

Where to find it

Red-necked Avocets can be found on a variety of wetlands, but they prefer saline water and will congregate in large numbers in the Coorong, shallow inland lakes and flooded saltpans. They are dispersive moving over South Australia in search of suitable habitat. In general, this means a movement inland in winter and to the coast in summer, but these movements are much affected by droughts and floods.