Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America
Focal Species

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) has been identified as a focal species of management concern due to recent evidence of population declines in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, low overall size of the eastern population of American Oystercatchers, and ongoing threats in breeding and wintering grounds, particularly in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America.  Loss and degradation of habitats (sandy beaches, shell rakes, tidal mudflats, and salt marshes) along the coast due to human development and recreation are the greatest threats to American Oystercatcher populations.  Human disturbance of nesting birds as a result of recreational activities in coastal habitats is also a concern, as are introduced predators especially on barrier islands.


Schulte, S., S. Brown, and the American Oystercatcher Working Group.  2006.  Version 1.0.  American Oystercatcher Conservation Plan for the United States Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

National Audubon Society.  2002.  Audubon WatchList: American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus).  Downloaded from (http://www.audubon.org) on 9/6/2006.

Nol, E. and R.C. Humphrey.  1994.  American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus).  In The Birds of North America, No. 82 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.).  Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.



American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher - Photo by Katherine Whittmore USFWS

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Last updated: December 1, 2011