Family Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)


Canarian Oystercatcher (Haematopus meadewaldoi)


French: Huîtrier des Canaries German: Kanarenausternfischer Spanish: Ostrero negro canario
Other common names: Canarian Black Oystercatcher, Meade-Waldo’s Oystercatcher

Hæmatopus niger meade-waldoi


, 1913,

Jandía, Fuerteventura, eastern Canary Islands


Validity of species often questioned, and available material too little to allow meaningful analysis. Sometimes considered conspecific with H. moquini or H. ostralegus, or with both. Monotypic.


Graciosa, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and offshore islets (Montaña Clara, Roque del Este), in E Canary Is.

Last collected in 1913, and locally reported to have become extinct by 1940s#R. Two reported sightings from Tenerife (WC Canaries) since 1965 unsubstantiated. Overharvesting of this species’ basic food, intertidal invertebrates, probably led to its final demise, but human disturbance also implicated. Predation by introduced rats and cats suggested as a possible additional factor#R.

Descriptive notes

c. 43 cm. All dark oystercatcher with red eye, orange-red eye-ring and bill, and pale pinkish red legs; in flight, when seen from below, primaries have pale bases, but this... read more


Rocky and sandy shores. Probably predominantly a rocky shore species.

Food and feeding

Unknown; probably mostly mussels and limpets. Likely prey species include limpets (Patella candei, P. pipperata, P. cf... read more


Nest and eggs undescribed. A female “soon to lay” was collected in S Fuerteventura in early Apr 1888, and a pair in breeding... read more


Unknown, but very probably resident.

Status and conservation

EXTINCT. Described as “not frequent” in mid-19th century. Last definite record was in 1913, although local fishermen and lighthouse keepers in 1970 estimated date... read more

Recommended citation

Hockey, P. (2019). Canarian Oystercatcher (Haematopus meadewaldoi). 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 16 October 2019).