Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Charadriidae / Haematopus / Species
Haematopus ostralegus - Eurasian oystercatcher (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Oystercatcher.
  • Common oystercatcher.
  • Pied oystercatcher.
  • Northern pied oystercatcher.
  • European oystercatcher.
  • Common oystercatcher.
  • Scholekster (Holland).
  • Huîtrier pie (France).
  • Austernfischer (Germany).
  • Beccaccia di mare (Italy).
  • Ostrero común (Spain).
  • Strandskata (Sweden).

(B19, B162)

Names for newly-hatched

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Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B19, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Rails, Plovers, Waders.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:
  • General: 40-45cm (B162); 39-44cm (B164); 43cm (B165); 41-45cm / 16-18 ins. (B166)

Bill-length:

Wingspan:

  • General: 80-86cm (B162); 72-83cm (B164)

Winglength:

  • Male: 241-273mm. (B162)
  • Female: 244-276mm. (B162)
Adult weight General 430-650g. (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Long and thick; reddish-orange. (B162, B164, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Red. (B162, B164, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Bill Long and thick; dull orange. (B162, B164)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B164)

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Legs

Adult Male Long; pink. (B162, B164, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Long; grey. (B162, B164, B165)

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Upperparts: Black; rump white 'V' pointing towards head.
  • Head: Black.
  • Underparts: Throat black; breast black; belly white.
  • Wings: Upper black with white bar along middle; underside (whole wing) grey.
  • Tail: Square; upper and under white with black tip.

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Non-breeding adult:
  • Underparts: Throat white collar

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Juvenile
  • Upperparts: Dark brown.
  • Wings: Upper dark brown with white bar along middle.
  • Underparts: Throat broad white band; breast dark brown.

(B162, B164, B165)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Precocious; mobile, downy, eyes open, follow parents. (B163)

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • April to May (B162); April to June. (B166)
No. of Clutches 1. (B162, B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Shallow scrape on the ground.
  • Lined with small pieces of debris or nothing.
  • Territory retained from year to year by breeding pair.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 3. (B162, B163, B166)
Range 1-4 (B162, B163); rarely 5. (B162)
Egg description: Smooth, fairly glossy, oval, 57mm long; buffy-yellow to grey with dark spots or splotches.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Incubation

24-27 days. (B162, B163, B166)

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Hatching

Synchronous. (B163)

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Fledging

28-32 days (B162, B163); 34-37 days. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males 4 years. (B163)
Females 4 years. (B163)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Probe mud for molluscs, opening shells by hammering or stabbing. (B163)
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By both birds. (B163)
Incubation By both parents, though mainly female. (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by parents and taught feeding techniques. (B163)
Juveniles

Remain with parents while learning feeding techniques. (B163)

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Generally gregarious.
  • Solitary or in small groups when feeding, flock when disturbed or when tide covers feeding ground.

(B162)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous long-term pair-bond, often lifelong.
  • Occasional opportunistic bigamy by males.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

  • Perches openly.
  • Wades.
  • Walks.
  • Takes off and lands on water or ground.

(B166)

Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Bivalve molluscs such as cockles and mussels.
  • Earthworms (inland).

(B162, B163, B166)

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Expansion of inland range over last century. Common in coastal regions of western Palearctic through to western Siberia and west-central Asia, and along major waterways of Asia.

Britain: Widespread coastal resident and winter visitor. Inland breeding range extends from English Midlands northwards.

  • In London: In the London Area, "localised breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor." Breeding at Rainham Marsh and the Thames Barrier. Outside the breeding season seen along the Lower Thames, also at various reservoirs. (J322.65.w1)

Migration:

  • Mainly migratory throughout range.
  • Coastal resident in western areas of range such as Britain, Scandinavia and Iceland.

(B162, B163, B166)

Occasional and Accidental Spitsbergen, Bear Island, Jan Mayen, Luxembourg, Austria (near annually), Balearic Islands, Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde Islands. (B162)
Introduced

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Habitat

  • Marshes.
  • Estuaries and shores..
  • Lakesides and large rivers.
  • Fields.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Slight variation, mainly in size of bill.
  • Haematopus ostralegus longipes; (Eastern and southern Former Soviet Union); Longer bill length.

(B162)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Increasing. (B162, B163)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

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Trade

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