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Eurasian Oystercatcher

From Opus

Adult in breeding plumagePhoto © by jenygardRunde, Norway,  22 June 2003
Adult in breeding plumage
Photo © by jenygard
Runde, Norway, 22 June 2003
Haematopus ostralegus


[edit] Identification

Juvenile still with natal downPhoto © by beverleySkomer Island, Wales, 08 July 2010
Juvenile still with natal down
Photo © by beverley
Skomer Island, Wales, 08 July 2010

40–47·5 cm (15¾-18¾ in)

  • Black above
  • White below
  • White wing and tail patches
  • Red legs
  • Strong broad red bill
  • Winter - white band across the throat interrupting the otherwise black neck
  • Juvenile - brown with white neck band and dull bill. Bill is still growing after they reach the ability to fly.

[edit] Distribution

Widespread throughout Eurasia and Africa.

Rare migrant on Greenland. Accidental vagrant to Newfoundland (several records).

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Winter plumage in flight showing white neck bandPhoto by © ReelsEdinburgh, Scotland, 27 December 2010
Winter plumage in flight showing white neck band
Photo by © Reels
Edinburgh, Scotland, 27 December 2010

There are 3 subspecies[1]:

[edit] Habitat

Beaches and coast in winter. Breeds in upload grassy areas.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes molluscs, mussels and earthworms.

[edit] Breeding

They nest in a scrape on pebbles which may be on the coast, riverside or in grassy fields and even upland moors. The clutch consists of 2-4 eggs which are coloured buff to yellow possibly with a greenish tint; there are variable markings of streaks and spots from greyish to black. There is a single clutch, usually in May.

Subspecies longipes in winter PlumagePhoto © by Alok TewariJamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, 20 January 2016
Subspecies longipes in winter Plumage
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, 20 January 2016

[edit] Vocalisation

Eurasian Oystercatcher voice clip

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, July 26). Eurasian oystercatcher. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:11, October 9, 2018, from Wikipedia
  3. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.
  4. Hockey, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2018). Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 October 2018).
  5. Evans, G. & Swain, H.D. (1985). Observers Book of Birds Eggs. Frederick Warne.

[edit] External Links


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