American oyster catcher

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Project Description

American Oystercatcher

Haematopus palliatus

Range/Geographical Distribution: Shorelines in North and South America.

Habitat:  Sandy and pebbly beaches, mudflats, and borders of salt marshes.

Similar Species: Black skimmer.

Description: A large shorebird with black head, black/brown wings and back, and a white underbelly. It has a large white stripe on its wings, a distinct large orange bill, and stout, dull pink legs.

Size: Length: 16-17” Wingspan: 28-36” Weight: 400-700g

Food: Feeds on shellfish and other marine invertebrates.

Breeding:  Breeds along the coasts of California and Massachusetts southward. Usually nests on high sandy areas such as dunes. Scrapes out five areas, lines them with shells or pebbles, and chooses one nest to lay its one or two tan, speckled eggs in.

Predators:  Sharks, wild boars and other mammals, and large birds of prey.

Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by the IUCN although it is a species of concern in several coastal states. States with low tidal ranges have less feeding grounds exposed during the low tide.

Interesting Facts: The American oystercatcher uses its long bill to catch shellfish unsuspecting, grabbing them before they can close up.

On the Coast: The coast of Georgia is home to many oystercatchers because of its large tidal range of seven to nine feet. At low tide, oyster beds are exposed for the oystercatcher to search for food. Many other states along the East do not have plentiful feeding grounds for these birds because of their small tidal range.

Project Details


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