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a genus of birds of the family Charadriidae of the suborder Limicolae. The bill is long and recurved and has a flattened tip. The plumage is white with black or red. The genus comprises four species, which are distributed in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia. In the USSR there is one species, the Eurasian, or European, avocet (R. avosetta). The European avocet measures 45 cm in length. Its plumage is black and white, and its bill is black. The bird is found in the south, from the Danube to Transbaikalia. It lives in colonies along the flat, swampy shores of seas and salt lakes. The clutch contains four eggs, which are incubated 22 to 24 days. The diet consists of cray fish, mollusks, and aquatic insects.