African Black Oystercatcher

© African Black Oystercatcher


African Black Oystercatcher

Latin Name

Haematopus moquini




51 cm


A resident limited to the seashore, coastal island, lagoons and estuaries.

Bird Call

The alarm call is a series of sharp 'pip pip pip' sounds and another call is a clear repeated 'klee-weep'.


Breeding time is from October to March. One to four eggs are laid in a slight hollow lined with bits of debris or a few pieces of broken shells. The eggs are stone-coloured, with blotches varying from pale purple to dark blackish brown. Incubation 28 - 30 days. Chicks are unable to fly until about 45 days old.

Immature Description

Juveniles are a duller mottled brown-black with underparts whitish and legs brownish- orange.

Adult Description

The Oystercatcher is entirely black with red legs and an orange-tipped red bill. Wedge-like bill, which is slightly longer than the head, the mandibles do not meet at the tip and flattened, the sides compressed to form thin blades at the tip; the legs short, with only three toes. Bright red eyes surrounded by orange.


Common resident but considered vulnerable


The African Black Oystercatcher is widely distributed along the southern African coast, yet very sparingly in places. To be seen on rocky coasts and beaches and at lagoons and estuaries.

Field Notes

The African Black Oystercatcher is considered to be a vulnerable species, although fairly common along the coast of South Africa and Namibia. One of the main reasons for this is that the nests of the oystercatchers are disturbed by human activity.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari