Definition of oystercatcher in US English:



  • A coastal wading bird with black-and-white or all-black plumage and a strong orange-red bill, feeding chiefly on shellfish.

    Family Haematopodidae and genus Haematopus: several species, e.g. the black and white H. ostralegus of Eurasia

    • ‘The lines of supporting buoys have been adopted by cormorants, gulls, guillemots, eider ducks, oystercatchers and even the odd heron.’
    • ‘With the mussel stuck in the open position, the oystercatcher can pull out the contents with the tip of its chisel-like bill.’
    • ‘Among the other unusual aspects of bird behaviour on the Clyde are oystercatchers which normally nest on the ground, but at Faslane have taken to nesting on roofs and carrying their young to the ground at the appropriate time.’
    • ‘Below Greyabbey, I watched the oystercatchers breaking cockle shells on the rocks.’
    • ‘Shorebirds, for those of you who want to know but are afraid to ask, comprise many families of birds, including oystercatchers, stilts, avocets, plovers, turnstones, sandpipers and phalaropes.’
    • ‘Although the breeding success remained low, number of breeding pairs increased markedly, suggesting that the absence of gulls made the nesting area more attractive for oystercatchers.’
    • ‘The swelling population of hedgehogs on the Scottish islands of North and South Uist and Benbecula has been devouring birds' eggs and chicks, leading to a big decline in the population of rare waders - like oystercatchers and redshanks.’
    • ‘Football Hole, just around the corner, is a small sandy bay that's perfect for a picnic while you watch turnstones, oystercatchers and female eider ducks that bring their crèches of ducklings here to learn crab-catching skills.’
    • ‘Researchers say that odd behavior by oystercatchers in Britain in the late 1990s indicated the collapse of shellfish beds in the Wash, off England's east coast.’
    • ‘Scottish Natural Heritage says the creatures prey on eggs and are jeopardising the populations of birds such as lapwings and oystercatchers.’
    • ‘Similar behavioral flexibility has been observed in oystercatchers in response to experimental variation in tide length.’
    • ‘What a difference it is to wake up to the sound of new lambs calling their mothers, seals barking in the bay, and oystercatchers and curlews singing their morning chorus, with a backing track of the sea pounding the cliffs and the beaches.’
    • ‘The curlew and oystercatcher are back and the great spotted woodpeckers have chosen the oldest telegraph poles in the village for best quality drumming sounds.’
    • ‘Shore bird numbers are declining, he says, particularly among oystercatchers, red-capped dotterels and beach thick-knees.’
    • ‘Similarly, oystercatchers forced to forage for shorter periods of time increased food intake to a level that maintained the same mean consumption over a longer period.’
    • ‘Field walls dip below the surface, old railway sleepers rot in the grass, lapwings and more oystercatchers paddled in the shallows with their young.’
    • ‘The ‘conservationist’ fields covered practices such as late mowing of grass to allow the hatching of birds like the godwit and oystercatcher, leaving a perimeter strip untouched and using less fertiliser and weedkillers.’
    • ‘As we paddled across clear water, we caught sight of purple jellyfish below us, herons and oystercatchers on adjacent rocks and flocks of seagulls.’
    • ‘Currently, visitors to the flats are likely to see sandpipers, avocets, oystercatchers, godwits, dowitchers, plovers and other shorebirds on their way south.’
    • ‘Where once you could stand and hear the sound of curlews and oystercatchers, all you can hear now is the roar of engines.’