Other names: Halligstorch
Latin name: Haematopus ostralegus
size: 35 - 45cm
Older: 10 - 20 years
Appearance: black and white plumage
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: Omnivore (omnivor)
food: Mussels, crabs, worms, insects, molluscs
distribution: Europe and Asia, Africa as a wintering area
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: day and night active
habitat: Coastal areas
natural enemies: Fox, marten, various birds of prey
sexual maturity: between the age of 3 and 5 years
mating season: April May
breeding season: 26 - 29 days
litter size: 4 - 7 eggs
social behavior: Family Association
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the oystercatcher
- The oystercatcher or Haematopus ostraglegus describes a bird belonging to the Charadriiformes, also known as the Halligstorch.
- The oystercatcher breeds primarily on the coasts of Europe, where it is found mainly on the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. Some subspecies colonize also breeding areas in Siberia, Asia Minor, China and Korea.
- In winter, the oystercatcher stays as a migratory bird in its winter quarters on the British Isles, in North and East Africa, India and on the Iberian Peninsula.
- The most striking features of the Oystercatcher are its red legs, eyes and red long beak.
- The plumage of adult birds appears in a characteristic black-and-white drawing, that of the juveniles is much paler and shows light spots.
- With a body height of up to 45 centimeters, the oystercatcher is about as big as a lapwing or a common gull.
- The young birds have a still brownish beak and flesh-colored to grayish legs.
- Oystercatchers like to stay in large swarms and populate especially the Wadden Sea, where they wait patiently for the tide and then go in search of food. But they are also found inland, where they populate areas near the river and grasslands.
- They feed on various mussels, but also on snails, crabs and mudworms. Oystercatchers living inland mainly capture insects, snails and earthworms.
- Oystercatchers are active day or night depending on the tide.
- The long pointed beak allows the oystercatcher, in mussel beds and on soft ground to specifically grab the food.
- Oystercatchers become sexually mature at the age of three to five years. They live mainly in couple relationships that can last a lifetime.
- On beaches, meadows or in sand dunes, the oystercatcher digs a hollow as a nest into which four to six eggs are laid in May or June.
- The young birds hatch after about 26 days and leave the nest after only a few hours.
- They are fed by their parents for up to six weeks.
- The life expectancy of the oystercatcher is about twenty years. However, ringed specimens were found that reached a age of well over thirty years.
- Many oystercatchers fall victim to birds of prey, gulls, martens and foxes.