Wednesday, 23 April 2014

American oystercatcher

Haematopus palliatus

Photo by Dick Daniels (Wikipedia)

Common name:
American oystercatcher (en); ostraceiro-americano (pt); huîtrier d'Amérique (fr); ostrero americano (es); braunmantel-austernfischer (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Haematopodidae

This species breeds along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America and South America, from New Jersey and Baja California south to central Chile and Argentina, including several islands in the Caribbean.

These birds are 40-44 cm long and have a wingspan of 76-90 cm. They weigh 400-700 g.

The American oystercatcher is found in various coastal habitats, including rocky and sandy beaches, mudflats, salt ponds, salt marsh islands, estuaries and river mouths.

They feed on oysters, mussels, clams and limpets, as well as snails, crabs, sea urchins, starfish and worms.

American oystercatchers are monogamous and breed in February-July. They nest on a shallow depression on the ground, located just above the high water mark. The female lays 2-4 buff-grey eggs with dark-brown speckles, which are incubated by both parents for 24-29 days. The chicks leave the nest within 24 h of hatching. They start flying after 5 weeks, but continue to follow the parents for several month until they learn the basic feeding techniques and become fully independent.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends. In North America the populations has undergone a large increase of 20% per decade over the last 4 decades.

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