Black Oystercatcher

Haematopus bachmani

A large, conspicuous, and noisy bird of the Pacific Coast, the Black Oystercatcher can be found along rocky shores from Alaska to Baja California.

Interesting Information

Black Oystercatchers from Alaska to about Oregon are entirely black, but southward from there birds show increasing amounts of white feathers and browner (less black) abdomens.


Adult Description

  • Size: 42-47 cm (17-19 in)

  • Weight: 500-700 g (17.65-24.71 ounces)

Large shorebird. Black head and body. Large red bill. Stout, dull pink legs. Eyes yellow, with surrounding ring of red skin.

Sex Differences

Sexes look alike.


Similar to adult, but bill duller and back with scaly light edges to feathers.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Rocky seacoasts and islands, less commonly sandy beaches.


Spend their entire lives in or near intertidal habitats.


Molluscs, especially mussels and limpets



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Haematopodidae
Genus: Haematopus
Species: Haematopus bachmani

Similar Species

American Oystercatcher has brown back, white belly, white rump, and large white stripe in wings.

Bird Sound

Loud whistled "wheeps."

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution