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A member of the Wader family, the Oystercatcher is a very distinctive breeding bird that can be seen along the entire length of the reserve, from Abbotsbury to Ferrybridge. These stocky, medium size birds are fairly easy to spot for two distinct reasons. Firstly for their colouration, with stark contrasting black and white plumage, a striking, long red bill and pinky-red legs and secondly for their very distinctive high pitch, chattering call. This call can be heard as they fly low over the water of the Fleet or as a distraction call to predators. The Oystercatcher breeds on almost all UK coasts and over the past half century have started moving inland to breed.

Oystercatcher in Flight

Oystercatcher chick








The name oystercatcher is a misnomer as these birds do not eat oysters. Oystercatchers residing along the coast feed on shore-dwelling bivalves such as mussels and limpets, along with other invertebrates like ragworms.

The video below is a remote camera that has captured all of the above, plumage, call and food! Typically the chick in the foreground isn’t particularly hungry (quite sleepy in fact) and it is another chick behind the vegetation that gets the ragworm.