Saturday, 6 February 2016

Bird of the week - Oystercatcher

The oystercatcher can catch oysters but it usually eats other molluscs or worms.  A noisy and eye-catching bird at the seaside, it also draws attention to itself by its loud piping call in flight.

The legs look pink to me but Haematopus ostralegus means blood-footed oyster-lifter.  

We are more used to seeing oystercatchers in ones and twos or small groups at the coast but they can mass in their thousands.

Oystercatchers are mostly confined to the coast in the southern half of the country but are more widespread in the north, especially in the breeding season.

Adult oystercatchers are relatively long-lived at 12 years but the record for a ringed bird is 40 years.  Numbers increased in the 70s and 80s but have been in decline more recently.

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on oystercatcher here.

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