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Black Oystercatcher - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative Name: Western Black Oystercatcher

Photo © by Doug Greenberg
Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, California, USA, 30 December 2005
Haematopus bachmani


  • All black wader
  • Long bill is bright red
  • Pink legs
  • Eye has bright yellow iris with red eye-ring
  • Northern birds may be slightly darker


Photo © by Nick Richter
Ballona Creek jetty, Los Angeles County, USA, 17 September 2005
Map-Black Oystercatcher.png
Western Aleutian Islands, along Canadian, American, and Mexican Pacific coasts to central Baja California and Los Coronados Islands.

H. bachmani; year-round
H. bachmani; wintering
Maps/Texts consulted1,2,3


A monotypic species.[4]. Some authors lump it with the similar Blackish Oystercatcher of South America.


Rocky shorelines.



The diet includes marine invertebrates, particularly mussels, limpets and chitons, also crabs and barnacles. It uses its strong bill to dislodge food and pry shells open.


The nests are small bowls or depressions close to the shore filled with small pebbles and shell fragments. 2-3 eggs are laid and are incubated for around 26-28 days. The chicks are capable of leaving the nest after one day; they stay in the territory for about 40 days after fledging. The fledged juveniles stay in the territory until the next breeding season. If the parents migrate, that year's chicks will migrate with them; this happens more often in the north of the range.


Their shrill cries can often be heard cutting through the roar of ocean waves.


  1. Sibley, DA. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0679451228
  2. Brinkley, ES. 2007. Field Guide to Birds of North America. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 978-1402738746
  3. Andres, B. A. and G. A. Falxa (2020). Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.blkoys.01
  4. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  5. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2019. Black_Oystercatcher in: All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/ Accessed on 24May 2020

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