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Oystercatcher

What am I?

I am a wading bird.

Where do I come from?

Some of us may migrate here for the winter from Norway and some of my friends come from Iceland and the Faroe Islands. You will also see many oystercatchers who stay here year round.

A bit about me

I love to make a lot of noise and my call is a high-pitched squeak known as a ‘peep-ing’ call. I’m a great bird for birdwatching beginners because I’m easy to identify with my white and black feathers, pink legs and bright red beak. I spend much of my time feeding on the coast, but at hightide you might spot me on nearby grassland.

We are easily spotted on UK shores, and increasingly inland too, which can give the impression we are doing really well as a species but we are actually suffering a worrying decline in Europe. The UK holds over a third of the European population of oystercatchers (at certain times of year) so these coastlines are a real stronghold for us.

Local spotlight

I am common on Solent shores, especially in the winter. Although, you won’t see me in my thousands which is the case at other coastal locations like Morecambe Bay and The Wash.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important and form part of the waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

Despite my name, when I am in the UK I don’t actually eat many oysters! My diet, in fact, is made up of other shellfish such as cockles and mussels, and sometimes even worms.