FWS Focus


The adult Black Oystercatcher is a large shorebird with a black head and body; large red bill; stout, dull pink legs; and yellow eyes, with surrounding ring of red skin. Juvenile Black Oystercatchers are similar in appearance to adults; however, they may have somewhat browner plumage, a dark tip on the bill, and their bare parts may be slightly duller.

References cited in Species Profile

  • Andres, Brad A. and Gary A. Falxa. 1995. Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/155
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015. Black Oystercatcher. All About Birds. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Oystercatcher/id Kenyon, K. W. 1949. Observations on behavior and populations of oyster-catchers in lower California. Condor 51:193-199.
  • Jehl, J. R. 1985. Hybridization and evolution of oystercatchers on the Pacific coast of Baja California. Ornithol. Monog. 36:484-504.
  • Rosenberg, K.V., D. Pashley, B. Andres, P. J. Blancher, G.S. Butcher, W.C. Hunter, D. Mehlman, A.O. Panjabi, M. Parr, G. Wallace, and D. Wiedenfeld. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Watch List. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. Washington, D.C. 4 pages.
  • Tessler, D.F., J.A. Johnson, B.A. Andres, S. Thomas, and R.B. Lanctot. 2007. Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) Conservation Action Plan. International Black Oystercatcher Working Group, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Manomet, Massachusetts. 115 pp. http://www.whsrn.org/shorebirds/conservation_plans.html
  • Weinstein, A., L. Trocki, R. Levalley, R.H. Doster, T. Distler and K. Krieger. 2014. A First Population Assessment of Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani in California. Marine Ornithology 42: 49-56. Distribution (include breeding, winter, and migration): The Black Oystercatcher breeds along most of the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California, and also winters along the coast of southern California. Most individuals only undergo a post-breeding, short-distance migration, and generally remain near nesting areas.

Scientific Name

Haematopus bachmani
Common Name
Black Oystercatcher
American Black Oystercatcher
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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