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Eurasian Oystercatcher

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Nuthatch

About the Eurasian Oystercatcher

Also known as: Common Pied Oystercatcher, Oystercatcher

The Eurasian Oystercatcher is a large species of shorebird that lives across parts Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are also known as Pied Oystercatchers or simply Oystercatcher.

Eurasian Oystercatchers are unusually conspicuous for shorebirds, with a highly contrasting black-and-white plumage accompanied by bright red-orange legs and bills. Unlike most other species of Oystercatcher, Eurasian Oystercatchers will breed far inland; other species are more likely to be found exclusively by water.

Eurasian Oystercatchers feed on a variety of prey, including molluscs, invertebrates, and worms. They don't necessariy feed on just oysters!

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 16 January 2012
Scientific Name Haematopus ostralegus
  • Charadriiformes
  • Haematopodidae
  • Haematopus
  • H. ostralegus
Birdorable Family Plovers & Shorebirds
Conservation Status Near Threatened
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 28 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
16 to 18 inches
31 to 33 inches
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia Central Asia East Asia Southeast Asia South Asia North Africa West Africa East Africa


From IUCN Red List:
The Eurasian Oystercatcher is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2015 by BirdLife International. This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened as it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criteria A2ab+3b+4ab. It has an extremely large range and population size, and the largest flyway population increased strongly between the 1960s and 1990s but subsequently declined moderately rapidly. The recent decline may be part of a longer-term fluctuation and the population should be monitored carefully to ascertain whether it shows signs of stabilising. None of the remaining flyway populations have increased. Should new information suggest declines are continuing or that actions to benefit the species, such as limiting mechanical shellfishery operations, are not leading to population recoveries, the species would merit uplisting to a higher threat category.

International Names

  • ústřičník velký (Czech)
  • Afrikansk Strandskade (Danish)
  • scholekster (Dutch)
  • mustameriharakka (Finnish)
  • Huîtrier pie (French)
  • Austernfischer (German)
  • Beccaccia di mare (Italian)
  • ミヤコドリ (miyakodori) (Japanese)
  • 검은머리물떼새 (Korean)
  • Tjeld (Norwegian)
  • ostrygojad (Polish)
  • Обыкновенный кулик-сорока (Russian)
  • Ostrero Negro Africano (Spanish)
  • Strandskata (Swedish)

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Fun Oystercatcher Facts

We recently added two new species of oystercatcher to Birdorable: the Black Oystercatcher and the Eurasian Oystercatcher. These join our updated American Oystercatcher. Here are some interesting facts about this family of ... more