The Black Oystercatcher is a common shorebird in Oregon, often seen patrolling the rocky beaches and tide pools where they will pry up shellfish using their long laterally-flattened bills. Because life on the rocky coast is perilous, oystercatchers are alert and restless birds. Their boisterous call, usually made as a territorial warning to other birds, can often be heard above the crashing of the surf. They prefer to live close to where they forage and you can find their nests in the hollows and depressions in rocks high above the tide line. Their distinctive bills can actually range in color from pale pink to bright red. The male and female look alike, although the female can be slightly larger.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium has a special relationship with these birds. In 1996, the first Black Oystercatchers to reproduce in captivity raised their chicks on top of a rock in our seabird aviary. They have since produced close to twenty chicks that have been sent to facilities around the globe.