Black OystercatcherHaematopus bachmani

adult
Arthur Morris/VIREO
adult
Martin Meyers/VIREO
adults
Jukka Jantunen/VIREO
Black Oystercatcher

Description

17-17 1/2" (43-44 cm). A large stocky shorebird, black with a long, stout, red bill. American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), boldly patterned in black and white, breeds in Baja California and is a casual visitor to California.

Voice

A whistled wheeee-whee-whee-whee.

Listen

queep calls
display song

Habitat

Rocky seacoasts.

Range

Resident from Aleutian Islands southward along Pacific Coast to Baja California.

Discussion

The Black Oystercatcher is only rarely found on sandy beaches--the normal habitat of the American Oystercatcher--but favors rocky coasts. It can be hard to see against a background of wet, seaweed-encrusted rocks and usually forages alone or in small groups. It feeds on a variety of marine life, specializing in creatures that cling to rocks below the high-tide line.

Nesting

2 or 3 olive-buff eggs, with brownish-black blotches, among pebbles in a shallow rocky depression or in a hollow on a beach.

Similar Species

immature (2nd yr)

American Oystercatcher

17-21" (43-53 cm). A large stocky shorebird, boldly patterned in blackish brown and white. Bill long and red; legs and feet pink. Shows bold white wing patch in flight.

Vireo

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