American Oystercatcher

Scientific name: Haematopus palliatus

A striking resident of coastal areas, the pied plumage and large red bill of the American Oystercatcher make it distinctive, though its foraging habits are just as unusual. American Oystercatchers specialize in finding and opening marine clams.

Both mammals and birds occasionally prey on oystercatchers, and in very rare instances an anchored clam may clamp down on an oystercatcher’s bill and hold it so tightly that the bird drowns with the rising tide. A maximum lifespan of 17 years has been documented in the wild.