Family Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)

Least Concern

American Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Blackish Oystercatcher (Haematopus ater).


French: Huîtrier de Bachman German: Klippenausternfischer Spanish: Ostrero Negro Norteamericano
Other common names: Black Oystercatcher(!)

Haematopus Bachmani


, 1838,

mouth of the Columbia River


Occasionally included in expanded H. ostralegus. Name H. frazari may be invalid, referring to a hybrid swarm formed between present species and H. palliatus in Gulf of California and W Mexico; the hybridization in this overlap zone is limited. Monotypic.


W Aleutian Is (Kiska I) through S Alaska (including Round I), W Canada and W USA to NW Mexico (Los Coronados Is and Baja California). Outside breeding season, mostly concentrated between S British Columbia and Baja California.

Descriptive notes

43–45 cm; male 555–648 g, female 618–750 g. All dark oystercatcher with yellow eye, orange-red eye-ring and pale pink legs; as in all other New World... read more


Breeds on rocky shores and islands. Outside breeding season frequents mudflats and rocky shores. read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes mussels, limpets, chitons, echinoderms, crustaceans, polychaetes, goose barnacles and, occasionally, fish. During breeding... read more


Laying in May–Jun; breeding starts c. 2 weeks earlier in S than in N of range. Nest is a shallow scrape on ground, usually lined with... read more


Local movement away from rocky shores to estuaries during winter, probably due to avoidance of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly widely distributed, and much of range supports relatively sparse human populations, especially in N; very little precise information available... read more

Recommended citation

Hockey, P. (2019). American Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2019).