Haematopus – Oystercatchers

The family with a very muddy taxonomic history

Members of this family are a group of waders that belong to the Haematopodidae family, which includes just one genus, Haematopus. Apart from the polar areas and certain tropical parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, they may be found on shores worldwide. The Eurasian oystercatcher and the South Island oystercatcher are the only two species that breed inland, sometimes quite far inland.

There has been some uncertainty over the species boundaries, with distinct populations of all black oystercatchers being given unique status. Still, pied oystercatchers are being treated as a single species.

Oystercatchers like many types of shorelines, from rocky coasts to sand, pebble, and shell beaches.