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Oystercatcher

The oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) is well known as a coastal species, and is easily recognised by virtue of its large size and combination of black and white plumage, long, bright orange-red bill and pink legs. In flight there is a prominent white wing-bar, and during winter a white 'chin-strap' develops. The sexes are similar in appearance, although males often have relatively shorter, thicker bills. Juveniles have brownish-black upperparts, grey legs, and a dark tip to the bill. Calls include a loud 'pic-pic-pic', and a high 'peep'. The oystercatcher can prize open bivalves that other waders cannot exploit, thanks to its strong, flattened bill. Rather than building a nest, oystercatchers lays their eggs in a scrape in the ground and both the male and female take turns incubating them. The oystercatcher was historically known as the ‘sea pie’.

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