Oystercatchers are found worldwide on all continents
2 species are found along Australians shoreline.
Both Species of Oystercatcher are noisy but wary shorebirds
who though found all around Australia are more common
in the south.
Feeding (both Species)
Their favourite food are mussels and limpets which they
break open by 1 of 2 methods.
Either using their sharp bills to prise open a crack or
smashing the shell against a rock.
They also eat other crustations and worms and other
soft invertrabraes etc.
Sooty Oystercatchers prefer rocky terrain, like exposed
rock flats and ledges, reefs, and tidal rock pools.
The above picture comes from my mate Soonlee
Their feathers are all black. They have a red eye,
eye-ring and bill. There legs though are more pinkish.
Their length is around 500mm
Between October and January (summer) the Sooty
Their nest which is just a
small scrape in sand nestled amongst rocks and sometimes
lined with locally available vegetation, is built and
defended by both the female and male.
2 eggs are normally laid.
The Pied Oystercatcher much prefers sandy beaches,
mud flats and estuaries.
They use their long beak to probe the sand for its food,
especially at low tide when the sand/mud flats are
They can be found in especially in Tasmania
(Southern Australia) in large flocks of 50 or so
but elsewhere are found in smaller numbers usually on
The Pied Oystercatcher is black with white markings on
its belly, and under its tail feathers and has a white
wing bar (see pic)
Like the Sooty it has a red, eye, eye-ring and bill as
well as pink legs.
Like the Sooty Oystercatcher they breed during early
summer October to January
Their eggs are laid in a scrape
in the sand between the high tide mark and the first
lot of sand dunes
The nest and the surrounding territory (approax 200
meters) is strongly defended by the parents
The incubation period is thought to be 28 days
They young stays with the parent for a couple of
months or so after fledging