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Haematopodidae

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Haematopodidae

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Oystercatchers
American Black Oystercatcher(Haematopus bachmani)
 
American Black Oystercatcher
(Haematopus bachmani)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Aves
 
Order: Charadriiformes
 
Family: Haematopodidae
Bonaparte, 1838
Genus: Haematopus
Linnaeus, 1758
Species
Magellanic Oystercatcher
H. leucopodus
Blackish Oystercatcher
H. ater
American Black Oystercatcher
H. bachmani
American Oystercatcher
H. palliatus
Canarian Black Oystercatcher
H. meadewaldoi
African Black Oystercatcher
H. moquini
Eurasian Oystercatcher
H. ostralegus
Australian Pied Oystercatcher
H. longirostris
Chatham Island Oystercatcher
H. chathamensis
Variable Oystercatcher
H. unicolor
Sooty Oystercatcher
H. fuliginosus

The Oystercatchers are a group of waders; they form the family Haematopodidae, which has a single genus, Haematopus. They are large obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs.

In some species, the bill shape varies according to the diet. Those birds with blade-like bill tips prise open or smash mollusc shells, and those with pointed bill tips tend to probe for annelid worms.

They are found on coasts worldwide apart from the polar regions. They are all-black, black and white or brown and white in appearance.

Their eggs are laid in a shallow scrape on shingle. Oystercatcher eggs are grey and speckled, providing camouflage against the grey rock background. They are pointed at one end. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of this is not to provide space for the chick's long beaks (their long beaks develop after hatching). The pointed shape is thought to prevent the eggs from rolling down a steep slope.

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