Haematopus palliatus Temminck, 1820, Venezuela. Two subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: American pied oystercatcher; French: Huоtrier d’Amйrique; German: Braunmantel-austernfischer; Spanish: Ostrero pio Americano.
15.75–17.32 in (40–44 cm); male averages 1.25 lb (567 g), female 1.41 lb (638 g). Black head, neck, upper breast, tail, flight feathers; white belly and lower breast; orange-red bill and eye ring; yellow eye. Only pied oystercatcher with brownish dorsal plumage. Juveniles have dark eyes, inconspicuous eye ring, dark tip on bill, and the upperparts are fringed with buff.
Coastal Americas from Gulf of California to Chile, southern Argentina to Massachusetts, West Indies. H. p. galapagensis occurs only in Galapagos Islands.
Sandy, shell, and pebble beaches, salt marshes, rocky shores.
Territorial, sometimes moves to mudflats in winter.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Takes snails, oysters, crabs, mussels, and clams using a variety of techniques. On rocky shores in Panama feeds almost entirely on mollusks.
Breeds only at the coast. Known to hybridize with blackish oystercatchers in South America and American black oystercatchers in western Mexico and Gulf of California (the latter resulting in disputed race H. p. frazari). Chick plumage consists of drab upperparts, white underparts, and dark stripes on sides and back. Breeding occurs during a two-month breeding season over range, ranging from February to October.
With a total population of about 5,000 birds, generally not considered globally threatened, but sometimes considered Near Threatened.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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