Young avocet birds hatched at Slimbridge take flight

Image caption The chicks were born on 16 May

Avocet chicks that are thought to be the first born in Gloucestershire have successfully taken flight, almost a month after they hatched.

The three birds were born on 16 May at Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

The distinctive black-and-white birds became extinct in Britain in the 19th Century due to habitat destruction and people collecting their skin and eggs.

The species was reintroduced to the UK in 1940 and numbers have slowly recovered.

A Slimbridge spokeswoman said the chicks' parents walked them 700m (2,297ft) to a better feeding spot when they were eight hours old.

There is no other record of avocets breeding in Gloucestershire, she said.

Slimbridge warden James Lees said: "We are particularly pleased that they have been successful seeing as avocets have failed to breed in other parts of England due to bad weather.

"Now they can fly and have adult feathers heavy rainfall shouldn't affect them, meaning they are a lot safer.

"The parents were brilliant. They chose a great nesting spot on an island in a saltwater pool as it was near the nest of an oystercatcher which helped see off predators."

The birds are expected to stay at the centre until August when they are likely to fly to the south coast.

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