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Haematopodidae

Haematopodidae (oystercatchers; class Aves, order Charadriiformes) A family of large, black, or black and white, waders, which have long, stout, orange-red bills, and thick, orange legs with three webbed toes. They run and swim well, are very noisy, and inhabit coastal shores, where they feed on molluscs, crustaceans, worms, and insects. They nest on the ground. There is one genus, Haematopus, containing about eight species, found in Europe, Asia, N. and S. America, Australia, and New Zealand.

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oystercatchers

oystercatchers See HAEMATOPODIDAE.

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Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers are seven rather similar-looking species of oceanic shorebirds that comprise the family Haematopodidae. Oystercatchers occur widely on subarctic, temperate, and tropical seacoasts, on all of the continents except Antarctica.

Oystercatchers are relatively large shorebirds, with a body length of 15-21 in (40-53 cm). They have pointed wings, a short tail, short but heavy legs, and three-toed feet. Their most distinctive feature is their long, blunt, knife-like (that is, vertically flattened), red or orange beak. This unique bill is used as a hammer and in a wedge-like fashion to twist open the shells of reluctant bivalves upon which oystercatchers feed. Oystercatchers also eat crustaceans, polychaete worms, and other inter-tidal and shoreline invertebrates.

There are two major types of color patterns among species of oystercatchers. These birds are either all black, or black above and white-bellied. The sexes do not differ in size or coloration.

Oystercatchers are strong, direct fliers. They typically occur on sandy or rocky beaches. They are wary birds, and when they detect a potential danger they repeatedly utter a loud, clear, piping sound as a call note.

Oystercatchers build their crude scrape-nests on remote, open beaches, or sometimes in fields and meadows near the coast. They lay two to four eggs, which are incubated by both parents. Both parents also share the care of the young birds. Parent oyster-catchers put on very convincing broken-wing displays to lure predators away from their nest or babies. Young oystercatchers are able to follow their parents soon after birth, and are able to fly and feed themselves after about five weeks.

All species of oystercatchers are in the genus Haematopus. Two species occur in North America. The American oystercatcher (H. palliatus ) is a black-backed, white-bellied species that occurs on mudflats and sandy beaches of the southeastern states and western Mexico. The black oystercatcher (H. bachmani ) isan all-black species that tends to occur on rocky beaches.

The most widespread species of oystercatcher in Eurasia (H. ostralegus ) is sometimes known as the sea-pie or mussel-pecker, and is a black and white species. The sooty oystercatcher (H. fuliginosus ) of Australia is an all-black species, as is the African black oystercatcher (H. moquini ) of southern Africa. The variable oystercatcher (H. unicolor ) of New Zealand is the only oystercatcher with black and pied color morphs. The black morph is black overall, while the pied morph has a white breast, back, belly, and wingbar. There are also intermediate morphs commonly called smudgies.

Bill Freedman

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Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers are six rather similar-looking species of oceanic shorebirds that comprise the family Haematopodidae. Oystercatchers occur widely on sub-arctic, temperate, and tropical seacoasts, on all of the continents except Antarctica .

Oystercatchers are relatively large shorebirds, with a body length of 15-21 in (40-53 cm). They have pointed wings, a short tail, short but heavy legs, and three-toed feet. Their most distinctive feature is their long, blunt, knife-like (that is, vertically flattened), red or orange beak. This unique bill is used as a hammer and in a wedge-like fashion to twist open the shells of reluctant bivalves upon which oystercatchers feed. Oystercatchers also eat crustaceans, polychaete worms, and other intertidal and shoreline invertebrates .

There are two major types of color patterns among species of oystercatchers. These birds can either be all black, or black above and white-bellied. The sexes do not differ in size or coloration.

Oystercatchers are strong, direct fliers. They typically occur on sandy or rocky beaches. Oystercatchers are wary birds, and when they detect a potential danger they repeatedly utter a loud, clear, piping sound as a call note.

Oystercatchers build their crude scrape-nests on remote, open beaches, or sometimes in fields and meadows near the coast. They lay two to four eggs, which are incubated by both parents, which also share the care of the young birds. Parent oystercatchers put on very convincing broken-wing displays to lure predators away from their nest or babies. Young oystercatchers are able to follow their parents soon after birth , and are able to fly and feed themselves after about five weeks.

All species of oystercatchers are in the genus Haematopus. Two species occur in North America . The American oystercatcher (H. palliatus) is a black-backed, white-bellied species that occurs on mudflats and sandy beaches of the southeastern states and western Mexico. The black oystercatcher (H. bachmani) is an all-black species that tends to occur on rocky beaches.

The most widespread species of oystercatcher in Eurasia (H. ostralegus) is sometimes known as the seapie or mussel-pecker, and is a black and white species. The sooty oystercatcher (H. fuliginosus) of Australia is an all-black species.

Bill Freedman

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