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2012-09-02
Aves bird of the week – African Black Oystercatcher – Haematopus moquini


 

African Black Oystercatcher

The African Black Oystercatcher - Haematopus moquini – is a near-endemic and a resident breeder on the rocky coasts and islands of Southern Africa. They occur along the coast of southern Angola, Namibia and much of South Africa, largely excluding coastal KwaZulu-Natal.

Description

It is a large black shorebird. Adults have jet black plumage, pinkish-red sturdy legs and a long, dagger-like orange-red bill. The eye and eye ring are red. There is sexual dimorphism, females being larger and heavier with longer bills. Juveniles are browner with a dark tipped bill.

Call

Its call is a distinctive loud piping.

Food

In rocky areas the primary food is mussels and limpets, but this coastal bird also feeds on whelks and crustaceans.

Breeding

The nest is a bare scrape on pebbles or shingles. The breeding season is from October to April, peaking between December and February. The female generally lays 1to 2 eggs, which are incubated by both adults. The eggs hatch after 27 to 39 days of incubation, and the young fledge between 35 to 40 days of age.

Conservation Status – Near-threatened

Near-threatened, due to its small population size, low reproductive rate and susceptibility to human disturbance, particularly as the breeding season coincides with the height of the summer tourist season. Eggs and chicks are crushed by people or off-road vehicles, or eaten by domestic dogs.

Birdwatching

Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a tour for you or book on one of the following Aves Birding Tour/Safaris/Adventures scheduled tours to see these striking birds: -

Aves Eastern Cape Birding Tour / Safari /Adventure.

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

 

 


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