Belongs to: breeding waders
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
BoCC Amber list
Best time to see: all year
Unmistakable black-and-white wader with long red bill and noisy piping call
Nests mainly along the coast in Essex, on shingle beaches, higher saltmarsh and seawalls; also inland
Move to the coast in winter where they are joined by birds from Norway
Black-and-white upperparts with pink legs and long orange bill; 42 cm
Often seen feeding along shoreline where they may gather in large flocks; flies strongly with loud piping calls
Eats molluscs and worms; chisel-shaped bill is designed to open shellfish, and especially mussels.
Before nesting put on a 'piping performance', in which groups of birds form circles and run about 'piping'
Nest is a lined scrape on the ground; one brood of 3 buff eggs blotched black, mid-April–May
During nesting, the off-duty parent stands guard to gives the alarm call when an intruder arrives
© Alan Williams
© Gerald Downey