23 October, 2009

South Island Oystercatcher

Scientific Name: Haematopus finschi

Population Estimate: 110K

Range / Habitat: Breed on inland wetlands of South Island of New Zealand, where it is endemic. Otherwise found primarily in South Island in intertidal areas.

Field Notes: Common shore bird with striking black and white coloring, bright orange bill and orange eye ring. Similar to Pied Oystercatcher of Australia but no range overlap. Variable Oystercatcher only other oystercatcher in New Zealand and is larger, stockier, most commonly in black phase. Pied phase of Variable Oystercatcher with mottled border on chest and no white shoulder patch. From our experience, Variable Oystercatcher more solitary, South Island Oystercatcher flocks. 

Personal Notes: First seen on Otogo Peninsula, later photographed on Stewart Island and the Catlins. In New Zealand known as Pied Oystercatcher. Maori name Torea. 

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