Oystercatcher Family

While we were driving from Mandeville to Waikaia on Saturday 20 Oct, we turned left at an intersection and noticed some large piles of gravel by the roadside. Suddenly I realised there were oystercatchers on the tops of the gravel piles. I asked Nigel to back up slowly and wound my window down. Amazingly the birds stayed in place and we each got some cellphone photos. Two adults and one young bird.

They are definitely oystercatchers and I think they are South Island Pied Oystercatchers. If you’d like to read more see New Zealand Birds Online

First photo taken by Nigel:


Second photo taken by Liz:


Third photo is a cropped version of the second photo:


Text by Liz, Photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)

20 thoughts on “Oystercatcher Family

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    1. According to NZ Birds Online the greatest numbers are found at estuaries from December to July. Fewer remain in coastal areas for the rest of the year as they move inland to South Island riverbeds and farmland to breed.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jean, that’s interesting. I thought oystercatchers are quite well distributed in various parts of the world but I’ve had two readers so far who’ve never heard of them till now.


    1. Amazes me too Candice! You’re the second person to have not heard of oystercatchers which surprises me as I think they’re reasonably distributed in other parts of the world. Jean who also commented on this post said that she’d seen oystercatchers recently in Ireland. You might find it interesting to pop back to my post again to see my reply to joyroses13 as I describe some interesting behaviour in my reply to her. Thanks Candice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. At the time of year when they have eggs or young ones they can be quite scary and aggressive. An adult will swoop at you with shrill threatening calls. When that big bill is coming your way it looks pretty menacing! These weren’t much bothered about us though – maybe because we were in the car or because their young one is already quite well grown. Outside of the breeding season we’ve never had them threaten us, its just a protection thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. PS. My interactions with aggressive birds may have been another species called Variable Oystercatchers who breed at the coast which is where I’ve experienced this aggression. It may be unfair for me to attribute the same behaviour to the South Island Pied Oystercatcher!

      Liked by 1 person

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