Black Oyster Catcher

Sea Life | | May 15, 2010 at 17:11

Black Oyster Catcher photo by Carol Georgi

Hello Ocean Lovers!

Every Other Breath is from the Ocean

contributed by Carol Georgi

Please support the movement to establish the Central Coast Extension of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
for more info go to

Black Oyster Catcher

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The black oystercatcher is a brownish black bird with a long, bright-red beak, large pink feet and yellow eyes. This coastal bird forages along rocky shorelines at low tide, looking for molluscs—mostly limpets and mussels and seldom eats oysters.

The long, bright-red beak is useful in eating bivalves, because, like limpets and mussels, they have a strong muscle that holds the two shells tightly together—yet an oystercatcher can easily and quickly pry them open. The birds also sneak up on open mussels, quickly stab their beaks between the shells, sever the muscle, shake the mussel free and swallow it. With sharp jabs of their bill tips, oystercatchers dislodge limpets and chitons from rocks, turn them over and eat the soft tissue.

Breeding pairs of black oystercatchers make their nests by tossing rock flakes, pebbles or shell fragments toward their nest bowl with a sideways or backward flip of their bills. these nesting sites are above the high tide level and use the same nest year after year.

Since oystercatchers breed and forage near the shoreline, they’re highly vulnerable to oil spills.

Carol Georgi, Volunteer

Black Oyster Catcher photo by Carol George

Tags: , ,