UAE

UAE: Unique bird with upturned bill breeds for the first time in Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve

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The Pied Avocet, a wetland bird with a long, slender, black upturned bill, has bred for the first time at the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve in Dubai.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Pied Avocet, a unique bird with an upturned bill, has bred for the first time at the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve following the rains in February, Dr Reza Khan, an avide birder and Principal Wildlife Specialist at the Dubai Safari Park, told Gulf News.

What is the Pied Avocet?

Pied Avocet is a wetland bird with a long, slender, black upturned bill. It has a long neck and legs. Its body is virtually black and white. Hence, its common name is ‘Pied’ Avocet. The bills and feet are bluish. The bird also has a unique feeding technique, in which it moves its bills in the upper surface of water. The average weight of an avocet is 300 grams. The male and the female look similar, but male bills are longer with a softer upward bend. Female bills are slightly shorter but more upwardly bent.

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The Pied Avocet chicks at the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.
Image Credit: Supplied

“A wetland bird, the Pied Avocet loves waterbodies or lives in or near temporarily formed rainwater pools or wetlands. I found these birds along with hundreds of locally breeding lapwings, stilts, plovers, egrets and herons in the Pivot Fields of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reseve soon after the rains in February. There were many migratory birds passing through the flooded areas along with at least four avocets,” he said.

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Dr Khan said towards the end of March, he also saw a pair of Avocets moving around one of the several rainwater bodies within the Pivot Field and lakes. Soon, the pair started coming together and chasing stilts and lapwings that were already breeding on the banks of the same waterbody. They selected a spot with some pebbles, salt flakes and dried up mud flakes and objects. They scraped the ground and rubbed their belly feathers against a seeming nest cup wall. Once the depression was deep enough, the pair decorated it with pebbles, twigs, cloth pieces lying around and bird feathers. The nest to hold eggs was now ready.”

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