American Oystercatchers

The American Oystercatcher is a beautiful black, brown, and white contrasting bird with pale pink legs and a bright reddish-orange beak and eyes.  I’ve seen this bird numerous times and either did not have my camera or I missed the shot…..up until our recent visit to Ocean City, Maryland.

Not one, but on two days I lucked out on sighting and capturing them around the Isle of Wight Bay.  And now I can finally add this bird to my lifer list!   🙂

The first day early morning there was a lone adult foraging the low tide and flats.


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I could not identify whether this was a male or female as they look identical.


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True to its name, the American Oystercatcher feeds on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) in addition to sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and worms.  They do love a good sand or mudflat.


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The second day I heard a loud ruckus, turned and sighted three in flight.  It was windy that day; and I struggled holding my camera still to focus on them, getting these two ‘best’ shots, albeit not so great with my cropping….but I’ll take them!


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As one turned and headed a different direction, the other two continued on their flight.


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There are two races of American Oystercatchers that breed in North America – the  eastern race along the Atlantic coast, and the western race along the Pacific coast from northwestern Baja California southward.  Another species is the Black Oystercatcher which lives along the Pacific coast north of Baja California.  Someday I’ll have to get me a shot of that one.

I love that bold color beak!


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