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Eurasian Oystercatcher - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Haematopus ostralegus)
Adult in breeding plumage
Photo © by jenygard
Runde, Norway, 22 June 2003
Haematopus ostralegus


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.


Widespread throughout Eurasia and Africa.

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



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

There are 3 subspecies[1]:


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



The diet includes molluscs, mussels and earthworms.


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 Plumage
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, 20 January 2016


Eurasian Oystercatcher voice clip


  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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, July 26). Eurasian oystercatcher. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:11, October 9, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eurasian_oystercatcher&oldid=852049524 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/53753 on 9 October 2018).
  5. Evans, G. & Swain, H.D. (1985). Observers Book of Birds Eggs. Frederick Warne.

Recommended Citation

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