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Variable Oystercatcher

Haematopus unicolor

Description:

Endemic oystercatcher to New Zealand. It has 3 colour morphs to really confuse things. The individuals here are dark morph being completely black plumage with bright orange bill and eye-ring and pink legs. There is also a pied morph and an intermediate morph. They are quite a large oystercatcher measuring 47-49cm in length and weighing in at just over 700gms.

Habitat:

Found all around the New Zealand coast line including Stewart Island. These birds were roosting up near the high water mark.

Notes:

Its interesting to note that the colour morphs tend to be related to geographic distribution. Black birds are less common in the north and central North Island (approx 43%) and far more common in the South and Stewart Islands (85-94% of the population).

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4 Comments

triggsturner
triggsturner 6 years ago

Thank you Ashley. These Variables can often be very engaging.

AshleyT
AshleyT 6 years ago

Awesome shots! I LOVE oystercatchers

triggsturner
triggsturner 6 years ago

Very similar Mark. Between the various black oystercatchers around the place and then the various pied ones it can all be a bit of a puzzle! ;)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Looks very like our Sooty

triggsturner
Spotted by
triggsturner

Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Spotted on Apr 27, 2013
Submitted on Feb 21, 2016

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