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 that extends as a ‘V’ between the wings.
Because it eats cockles, the population is vulnerable if cockle beds are overexploited.
They breed on almost all UK coasts. During the last 50 years, more birds have started breeding inland. Most UK birds spend the winter on the coast where they are joined on the east coast by birds from Norway.
Oystercatchers’ nests are a scrape in the ground made by the male. It may be lined with shells, fragments of rocks or small mammal droppings.
Oystercatchers lay 2-5 camouflaged eggs which are incubated by both male and female for 24-35 days. Chicks are covered in down and are fed by both parents. They fledge around 33 days but will still rely on their parents for food for some time.
Did you know?
There are 12 species in the world, all of which look very similar, being either pied or plain black, with a red bill and pink legs. A further species of oystercatcher became extinct in the 20th century.
All Images by CRUSH Photography©