Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Black OystercatcherHaematopus ater
Local Name: Black Curlew
Breeding Range: Falklands & South America
Falklands Population: ~5,000 breeding pairs
World Population: unknown
The Black Oystercatcher is much less common than the Pied Oystercatcher, being restricted to rocky shorelines where it feeds almost exclusively on shellfish. Nests are usually made above the high water line in a shallow hollow, amongst rock debris or in a crevice. Two eggs are laid during November or December, but adults can re-lay up until January if the first clutch is lost. Adults are much more secretive than the Pied Oystercatcher, and only tend to make their presence known if the nest is discovered. Once discovered however, a guarding adult will defend its nest vigorously against potential predators. The Black Oystercatcher is easily overlooked on a rocky shore. Its dark colour blends into the rocks upon which it feeds, and it does not draw attention to its presence. Sexes are similar in appearance.