Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island information guide

American Oystercatchers are a colorful addition to many marsh shoreline areas along Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague. These shorebirds have black & white bodies, bright red-orange bills, pink legs & feet, and red eyes. Their noisy whistle sounds are also very distinctive. They are large in size (16-21"). Their red-orange bills are long and flattened at the side and are designed to catch and open the shells of oysters, mussels, and clams. These birds are found on the Atlantic and South Pacific coasts. Their habitat includes sandy and pebbly beaches, mudflats, and borders of salt marshes. They lay 2-4 eggs per clutch. They were once hunted to near-extincetion along the Atlantic Coast.

Photographs by Assateague Explorer © 2002

American Oystercatcher
(Haematopus palliatus)

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