bird of the year 2018 - .key features bird of the year 2018 african black oystercatcher african...

BIRD OF THE YEAR 2018 - .KEY FEATURES BIRD OF THE YEAR 2018 AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER African Black
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  • KEY FEATURES

    BIRD OF THE YEAR 2018AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER

    African Black Oystercatcher

    AKA Rocky

    Haematopus moquini

    Hi, my name is Rocky. I am an African Black Oystercatcher. There are 12 oystercatcher species worldw ide.

    Two species can be found in South Africa, the visiting Eurasian Oystercatcher and the near-endemic African

    Black Oystercatcher. The African Black Oystercatcher is the only one that breeds in South Africa. I am

    described as a very distinctive and charismatic bird w ith bright, contrasting colours which makes me easy to

    identify. The genus name, Haematopus, means legs and feet red like blood, which is exactly what I look like!

    NECK POWERFUL NECK MUSCLES

    TO JAB AT AND BREAK

    OPEN MUSSELS.

    BILL LONG FLATTENED, CHISEL-SHAPED TO JAB AT PARTIALLY OPEN VALVES OF MUSSELS AND SCISSOR OUT THE FLESH.

    MALE BILL IS SHORTER AND BLUNTER THAN THAT OF THE FEMALE BIRD.

    LEGS AND FEET

    PINK/REDDISH LEGS

    AND FEET.

    BODY BLACK PLUMAGE IN ADULTS.

    GREY PLUMAGE IN JUVENILES.

    CHICKS ARE GREY WITH BLACK STRIPES

    BEHIND THE EYES AND CROWN.

    CALL LOUD KLEEP, KLEE-A OR KLEE-EEP SOUND.

    WHEN IN DANGER SHARP REPEATED PIC OR

    PIC-PIC ALARM CALL.

    WINGS 80 TO 88 CM

    SIZE 42 - 45 CM

    WEIGHT 665 G 730 G SEXUAL MATURITY 3 YRS 4 YRSLIFESPAN UP TO 29 YRS

    I only breed on the coastlines of South Africa and Namibia. In Mozambique

    and Angola you w ill find some of my non-breeding friends. I prefer rocky,

    sandy and mixed substrate coastlines along the mainland and islands. When Im

    not breeding, I love to join large flocks of birds to roost on high vantage points.

    Habitat and Distribution

    Unlike my name oystercatcher, I do not eat oysters! I prefer bivalves (mussels), limpets, polychaetes (worms), whelks and crustaceans. On sandy

    shores, I mainly eat sand mussles whereas on rocky shores my diet is more varied. I only feed during low tide in the zone between the low-water

    mark and high-water mark. This requires me to feed day and night to take advantage of both low tides.

    Food and Feeding

    EYES RED EYES WITH ORANGE EYE RING.

    BREEDING MONOGOMOUS - WILL STAY TOGETHER FOR UP TO 20 YEARS. BUTTERFLY FLIGHTS - SLOW

    FLIGHT WITH DEEP WING-BEATS - ARE PERFORMED

    IN PRE-BREEDING AND BREEDING PERIODS.

    TERRITORIAL ESTABLISH TERRITORY FIRST BEFORE BREEDING.PIPING DISPLAYS GIVEN IN TERRITORY DEFENCE WITH BILLS HELD DOWNWARDS

    AND SHOULDERS HUNCHED OR WINGS SLIGHTLY RAISED WHILE CALLING LOUDLY.

    RETURN TO THE SAME SIGHT TO BUILD THEIR NEST YEAR AFTER YEAR.

    NEST BREEDING SEASON BET WEEN OCTOBER AND APRIL. NEST BARE SCRAPE IN SAND OR SHALLOW INDENTATION IN ROCK,

    SURROUNDED BY A RING OF SHELLS AND ROCKS ABOVE THE HIGH WATER

    MARK. LAY 1 - 2 WELL CAMOUFLAGED EGGS. BOTH PARENTS INCUBATE

    EGGS FOR 27 - 39 DAYS. ADULTS PERFORM FALSE BROODING DISPLAY

    WHEN THREATENED TO DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM REAL NEST.

    CHICKS IN RESPONSE TO PARENTS ALARM CALL, HIDES UNDER BUSH,ROCKS, CRACKS, OR FREEZES IN OPEN WHEN THERE IS NO COVER.

    ADULTS PERFORM DISTRACTION-LURE DISPLAY WITH NO VOCALIZATION

    TO DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM THEIR CHICKS.

    CARE OF CHICKS CHICKS BORN WITH EYES OPEN,COVERED IN DOWN, MOBILE, BUT STILL DEPENDENT

    ON ADULTS FOR FOOD. FED BY BOTH ADULTS; ONE

    FORAGES WHILE OTHER CLOSELY GUARDS CHICKS.

    FUN FACT - CHICKS CAN SWIM TO AVOID PREDATORS!

    FOOD PREY CARRIED WHOLE TO CHICKS, FLESH THEN REMOVED AND SHELL DISCARDED TO FORM

    SHELL MIDDEN CLOSE TO NEST.

    FLEDGE CHICKS FLEDGE AT 35 - 40 DAYS ANDLEAVE PARENTS TERRITORY AFTER 2 - 6 MONTHS.

    JUVENILES MIGRATE TO NURSERY AREAS IN NAMIBIA

    AND ANGOLA FOR 2-3 YEARS BEFORE RETURNING.

    Rockys Life Cycle

    Content and Illustrations: Chrissie Cloete trading as ChrissieCanDrawSources: Carnaby, T. 2010. Beat about the bush birds. Jacana, Johannesburg, pp 764.Hockey, P.A.R., I Dean, W.R.J. & Ryan, P.G. (Eds). 2005. Roberts Birds of Southern Africa 7th ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. I Ginn, P., McIlleron, G. 2014. The Ultimate Companion for Birding in Southern Africa, Volume 1. The Unlimited, Cape Town.

    Hi my name is Sandy, the

    White-fronted Plover. Rocky and I

    are best of friends as we have a lot in

    common. Just like Rocky, I w il stay w ith one

    mate my whole life and lay my eggs in scrapes in

    the sand. I also feed night and day in the upper

    intertidal zone. Both of us

    lay camouflaged eggs and

    w ill try our best to divert

    attention away from our

    nests w ith distraction

    displays. Unlike rocky, I live on the coastline

    as well as inland around lakes and

    rivers. Im aslo a lot smaller.

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