Oystercatcher on sand


Oystercatchers are striking, black and white wading birds with long bright red bills. Their bill is used to break into shellfish, and each individual inherits a particular technique from its parents. Despite the name, oystercatchers are not known to eat oysters and in fact favour mussels. They supplement this specialised diet of hard-shelled molluscs with softer-bodied invertebrates, such as crustaceans, worms and insects. Oystercatchers are primarily shorebirds, although they do sometimes breed inland by rivers and lochs. They are more usually found at the coast during the winter.

Scientific name: Haematopus ostralegus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common pied oystercatcher,
  • Eurasian oystercatcher,
  • Sea pie

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Map showing the distribution of the Oystercatcher taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Oystercatcher can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Oystercatcher distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Shorebirds
  6. Haematopodidae
  7. Haematopus
  8. Oystercatcher