Black Oystercatcher

Haematopus bachmani




Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff to olive with brown and black markings

Number of Eggs:

1 - 4

Incubation Days:

24 - 29

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Small pebbles, pieces of seashells.





Black Oystercatcher: Large stocky brown-black shorebird with bright orange bill and glaring yellow eyes with contrasting orange eyering. Stout legs are dull yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has brown eyes and darker bill.

Range and Habitat

Black Oystercatcher: Are residents, from the Western Aleutians to east and south along the coast to Morro Bay, California, and on offshore islands to Baja California. Found on the rocky coasts, and sometimes on sandy beaches. More widespread in the fall and winter. Spend their entire lives in or near intertidal habitats.

Breeding and Nesting

Black Oystercatcher: Nests among rocks or grasses above high tide mark on inaccessible cliffs or islands. Nest is a simple scrape on the ground. Lays one to four buff to olive eggs marked brown and black. Both sexes incubate for 24 to 29 days. Chicks remain near the nest for several weeks, then gradually venture closer to waves and food sources.

Foraging and Feeding

Black Oystercatcher: Moves slowly and methodically among wave-splashed rocks along the ocean, stabbing limpets and mussels open or prying them off rocks. May eat other shellfish including whelks, urchins, and crabs.


Black Oystercatcher: Very loud piercing whistles that can be heard at great distance over crashing waves.

Similar Species

Black Oystercatcher: American Oystercatcher has white belly, rump, and wing patch.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X