Scientific name: Haematopus ostralegus
The loud 'peep-ing' call of an Oystercatcher is a recognisable and familiar sound of the seashore. Look out for it hunting on rocky and muddy shores for shellfish to eat. It can also be spotted on some inland waterbodies where it has started to breed.
Average lifespan: 12 years
Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Listed as Near Threatened on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutThe Oystercatcher is very noisy wading bird with a loud 'peep-ing' call. On the coast, it specialises in eating shellfish, particularly cockles and mussels, which it either prises or hammers open with its strong, flattened bill. Originally a coastal species, the Oystercatcher has moved further inland over the last 50 years to breed on waterways and lakes. Most UK birds still spend their winters by the sea, however, and are joined by birds from Norway and Iceland.
How to identifyThe Oystercatcher has a black head, back and wings, and a white underside. It has a long, red bill and pinky-red legs.
In our area
These distinctive birds can often be seen on the rocky beaches of the River Severn outside Ironbridge and nest in wet meadows and on stony islands at Wood Lane nature reserve.