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Australian Pied Oystercatcher

(Haematopus longirostris)
Alternate name(s): "Pied Oystercatcher", "White-breasted Oyster-catcher", "Black-and-white Oyster-catcher", "Seapie", "Olive", "Eugerie-bird", "Wongbird", "Redbill*", "Torea"
Aboriginal name(s): "kornkorn" (WA)

Size: 42-50 cm
Weight: ca. 740 g (average)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Pied Oystercatcher at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information




Close-up lateral view of an Australian Pied Oystercatcher; the short bill and the absence of dark flecks in the iris suggest that this is a male (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)

Close-up near-dorsal view of a male(?) Australian Pied Oystercatcher (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul wader roost, Brisbane, QLD, January 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a male(?) Australian Pied Oystercatcher (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Sandy Creek, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, July 2019]

Lateral view of a male(?) Australian Pied Oystercatcher, together with a Sooty Oystercatcher (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, July 2018]

Pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers; the bird on the right, with the shorter bill, is the male; female on the left
(photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Coconut Grove, Darwin, NT, February 2019]


Lateral view of an Australian Pied Oystercatcher; based on the length of the bill, this is a female (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Broadwater, Gold Coast, QLD, March 2019]

Pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers; the notably long bill of the bird on the right indicates that it is a female

Sex unknown

Lateral view of an Australian Pied Oystercatcher

Resting Australian Pied Oystercatcher
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

The same Australian Pied Oystercatcher as shown above, stretching its wings
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Near-dorsal view of two Australian Pied Oystercatchers (photo courtesy of D. Dyer)
[Ronsard Bay, Cervantes, WA, July 2014]

Dorsal view of an Australian Pied Oystercatcher
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

Pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers
[Myall Lakes NP, NSW, June 2009]

Small flock of Australian Pied Oystercatchers (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul wader roost, Brisbane, QLD, January 2018]

Australian Pied Oystercatcher in flight (photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg)

Australian Pied Oystercatcher flying in front of a breaking wave
[Point Plomer, Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Australian Pied Oystercatcher in flight, seen from underneath
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, September 2016]

Direct comparison of an Australian Pied Oystercatcher with a Sooty Oystercatcher
[Iluka Bluff, Bundjalung NP, NSW, May 2014]


Australian Pied Oystercatcher chick on its first day out - on the left a Terek Sandpiper; the day the chick hatched the nest went under water (photo courtesy of A. Allnutt)
[Wallaga Lake entrance, near Bermagui, NSW, December 2018]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jun - Jan Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 28 - 32 days Fledging age: Precocial

Given the right conditions - and depending on geographical latitude - Australian Pied Oystercatchers can breed almost any time of the year, except April.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Mostly female Dependent care: Female & male


"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Scrape Material: Sandy soil Height above ground: N/A

Australian Pied Oystercatcher nest with one egg; a second egg was laid after the photo had been taken
(photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[East Arm, Darwin, NT, August 2013]


"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 60 x 41 mm Colour: Creamy, with dark-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

(See photo above).


Social behaviour: Territorial? Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Food, Diet

Pied Oystercatches feed on oysters and other shellfish that they pry loose with their powerful bills.

This Australian Pied Oystercatcher was seen by us foraging ontop of a sand dune, rather than along the edge of water (there was salt water on one side of the dune and a salt marsh of an estuary on the other)
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

pieoyst_20150818.m4a (NE NSW) Contact calls (Q&A; in-flight) © MD
pieoyst_20150326_2.mp3 (NE NSW) ? (in-flight) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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