Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

After loud calling and aerial acrobatics, a pair of black oystercatchers land on the shore and 'bow' to each other before mating.

Description:

This stocky wader reaches a length of 44 cm and is completely black in colour except for its long, flat, red bill and the flesh-coloured legs. Its eyes are bright yellow and are surrounded by an orange ring.

Distribution:

Rocky shores from northern Alaska to southern British Columbia are the black oystercatcher's favorite areas. It particularly likes shores with heavy breaking surf, and is therefore more often found on the outer Pacific coast, as opposed to the channel islands.

Ecology:

Two to three eggs are laid in a depression in bare rock lined with stone and shell chips. Incubation lasts 26-30 days and is carried out by both parents. After 35 days, the young leave the nest.

Feeding mostly on mollusks, the black oystercatcher waits for the tide to ebb and attacks its prey when their shells are still open.