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Oystercatcher in flight

Image: Graham Catley

Oystercatchers are wading birds, found on freshwater and seawater margins and on drier ground inland, including pastures, riverside fields and similar areas around flooded gravel workings. They have striking black and white plumage. 

Their long, orange bill is pointed or chisel-shaped, helping to open shellfish such as mussels and cockles but also to probe for worms. Very sociable, forming large, noisy flocks on sea shores, especially larger estuaries. 

There are a few other similar species on coasts in the Americas and Africa.


The oystercatcher is a large, stocky, black and white wading bird. It has a long, orange-red bill and reddish-pink legs. In flight, it shows a wide white wing-stripe, a black tail, and a white rump th... More...