Avocet chicks hatch at Saltholme nature reserve

One of Saltholme's avocet chicks Image copyright David Tipling
Image caption The hatched chicks were greeted by "a big cheer", according to Saltholme site manage Dave Braithwaite

A type of bird once driven to extinction in Britain has hatched chicks on Teesside.

The avocets were born at the RSPB's Saltholme wildlife reserve near Stockton.

Avocets are black and white with long legs and upturned beaks, and the birds have nested within an area of flooded grassland.

Three clutches have hatched with more expected in the days ahead, wildlife chiefs said.

Avocets have been the subject of intense conservation efforts and, having once been restricted to a small island off the Suffolk coast, have been spreading northwards, according to the RSPB.

They were declared extinct as breeding birds in the UK in 1884, but returned to the Suffolk coast in 1947.

The birds first returned to the Tees estuary in 2008 where they successfully bred.

There are now about 1,000 pairs across the UK, the charity added.

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