Oystercatchers Haematopodidae

Class: Aves Order: Charadriiformes Family: Haematopodidae Number of species: 7 species



Oystercatchers vary in length from 15.8 to 19.8 inches (40 to 49 centimeters) and in weight from 0.9 to 1.5 pounds (400 to 700 grams). Some oystercatcher species have dark feathers throughout the body while others are dark with white feathers on the lower breast, belly, and parts of the wings and tail. All-dark oystercatcher species tend to be somewhat larger than black-and-white oystercatchers. One species, the variable oystercatcher, has individuals with both coloration patterns as well as individuals that are somewhere between the two. Oystercatchers have bright red or orange bills with a blade-like or dagger-like shape. The eye and a narrow ring around the eye are red in Old World oystercatcher species. In New World species, the eyes are yellow while the eye rings are either yellow or orangered. The legs are pink and the feet are stout, with toes that are partially webbed. Oystercatchers have short necks, long, pointed wings, and short tails. Females are larger than males in oyster-catchers, and also have longer wings and bills.


Oystercatchers are found in coastal habitats worldwide, including North America, Europe, Africa, east Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. They also inhabit lakeshore areas in New Zealand, temperate (mild) Europe and Asia, and northern Africa.


Oystercatchers occupy diverse types of shoreline habitat. These include beaches of rock, sand, pebble, and shell. Some phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

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