Shore Bird Puzzle

Breeding Variable Oystercatcher

Motif of this bird puzzle is an endemic shore bird the Variable Oystercatcher. The breeding bird is photographed during the first week in January 2010.

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Breeding Variable Oystercatcher

In the first week of January 2010 along the coastline of Whatipu two of these 46 cm big coastal birds fell into an united attack against us. Accidentally we broke into their nesting area. Their nest, just above high tide line, was set directly into the sun warmed sand in between sprinkled shells. Like this it was well camouflaged for passers by. Only the distracting manoeuvres of the Variable Oystercatcher pair revealed their nest.

The bird is endemic to New Zealand. Maori people call it torea or torea-pango. Prominent are their bright red bill, legs, and eyes. Their size is about 46 cm with an all black plumage. Sometimes this variety can have white parts on their belly. If this happens distinction between them and Pied Oystercatcher can be challenging. The coast is their home where they tend to stay close to their breeding area all year round. Worms, crabs, mussels and other invertebrates are part of their diet.

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