Pied Avocet


Intertidal or brackish water environments.


A vagrant, with just 2 records, both in East Malaysia. The first was at Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak, from 10 – 11 January 2009; the second was at Tuaran, Sabah, from 1-3 December 2011.


I was fortunate to see the Sarawak bird on both days of its recorded stay.

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Pied Avocet, Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. 10 January 2009.

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Pied Avocet, Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. 11 January 2009.

I like this picture – it might be the only time a Pied Avocet has appeared in the same frame as a Malaysian Plover!

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Pied Avocet, Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. 11 January 2009.

Initially, I thout the grey markings on the neck and scapulars meant it was a first year bird.

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Pied Avocet, Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. 11 January 2009.

It could be, although I can’t make out any definite juvenile feathers.

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Pied Avocet, Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. 11 January 2009.

There’s no obvious wing moult, but the outer two primaries on the left side are broken. Whatever age it was, it had obviously been bashed about a bit, which might have had something to do with it turning up in Borneo instead of Southern China.

Perhaps someone with more experience of these can help me age and sex the bird. The bill is supposed to be more sharply upturned on females than males, but there is an overlap, and differences are subtle and usually only distinctive when a pair is together.


From this photo, the Tuaran bird looks as if it was a first winter (pale brown outer greater wing coverts and evenly-tipped flight feathers). More pictures are viewable here.


Bakewell, D.N. 2009. First Country Record: Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta in Suara Enggang 17/1:12 – 14

Bakewell, D.N. (compiler) 2012. Recent Reports: December 2011 – February 2012, in Suara Enggang 20/2: 33-39

Chandler, R. 2009. Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere.  London: Christopher Helm

Myers, S. 2009. A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo. London: New Holland

Robson, C. 2008. A Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia. London: New Holland

This is a community resource! If you’d like to contribute photos or suggest amendments, please contact me. Photos should have been taken in Malaysia or Singapore, and be accompanied by the date and location details. Minimum resoluition = 900 pixels along the horizontal edge.


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