African Black Oystercatcher

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

iAfrican Black Oystercatcher

Conservation status

Near Threatened (NT)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Haematopodidae
Genus: Haematopus
Species: H. moquini
Binomial name
Haematopus moquini
( Bonaparte, 1856)

The African Black Oystercatcher, Haematopus moquini, is a large wader which is a resident breeder on the rocky coasts and islands of southern Africa. This oystercatcher has a population of less than 5,000 adults.

The African Black Oystercatcher is a large and noisy plover-like bird, with completely black plumage, red legs and a strong broad red bill used for smashing or prying open molluscs such as mussels, or for finding earthworms. The sexes are similar in appearance, but juveniles are browner than adults.

The African Black Oystercatcher is unmistakable in flight with its all-dark plumage. The call is a distinctive loud piping, very similar to Common Pied Oystercatcher. That migratory species can occur as a vagrant in southern Africa, but its black-and-white plumage makes confusion impossible.

The nest is a bare scrape on pebbles or shingles. The female generally lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both adults.

The scientific name commemorates the French naturalist Alfred Moquin-Tandon.

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