Thursday, March 30, 2023

Black Oystercatcher

The black oystercatcher is found along the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. There are an estimated 8,900 to 11,000 of them, so they are pretty sparsely scattered. 
Range map of the black oystercatcher from Wikipedia.
The black oystercatcher is a beautiful bird that is entirely black with a long red bill, yellow iris, red eye-ring and pink legs. The plumage is darker in the north and gets lighter to the south. 
Note the dark brown back, illustrative of the letter color as it gets toward the southern part of its range.  
It feeds in the intertidal area very close to the water's edge, feeding on mussels, limpets, chitons, crabs and barnacles. 
Standing above a bed of mussels. 
I saw several black oystercatchers in my pelagic bird tour with Island Packers. The only photos I got were on a rock outcrop just west of Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island. 

1 comment:

  1. That red beak and color-coordinated eyeball is quite spectacular--and hard to miss.