Wider Countryside Report Header
BTO Blueline
Main WCR menu image Site navigation menu item Results overview menu item Other info menu item BTO website menu item
BTO Blueline
Haematopus ostralegus

Oystercatcher © Tommy Holden


• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: no SPEC category (concentrated in Europe, conservation status favourable)
UK: amber (>20% of European breeding population, >20% of East Atlantic Flyway population in winter, localised wintering population)
Long-term trend
UK waterways: moderate increase
UK population size
113,000 (98,500–127,000) pairs in 1985–99 (O'Brien 2005: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
Oystercatchers increased along linear waterways between 1974 and about 1986, as the species colonised inland sites across England and Wales (Gibbons et al. 1993). Thereafter, the WBS/WBBS index stabilised and now appears to be in decline, so showing a pattern similar to that in winter abundance revealed by WeBS (Calbrade et al. 2010). Surveys in England and Wales revealed an increase of 47% in breeding birds in wet meadows between 1982 and 2002 (Wilson et al. 2005). BBS data since 1994, which include birds in a broader range of locations and habitats, show strong increase in England but a significant decline in Scotland. The increase in nest failure rates during the 27-day egg stage (25 days for incubation and 2 days for laying) probably results from the spread of the species into less favourable habitats, where nest losses through predation or trampling may be more likely. The trend towards earlier laying can be partly explained by recent climate change (Crick & Sparks 1999).
WBS UK graph

1975-2008: 74% (confidence interval 36% to 163%)

Population changes in detail
Demographic trends
Additional information

BTO blue divider

BTO Home | JNCC Home
 © British Trust for Ornithology. Charity No 216652 (England and Wales).Charity No SC039193 (Scotland)
Company Limited by Guarantee No 357284 (England and Wales).
Registered Office: The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UK.
Terms and Conditions
| Privacy Statement          Email:

This report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Renwick, A.R., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G., Barimore, C., Conway, G.J., Downie, I.S., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2010). Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2010. BTO Research Report No. 565. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 11.10.2010