Haematopodidae - Oystercatchers

The oystercatchers are distinctive (and noisy) birds of the shoreline with their black and white (or, in some species, all black) plumage and stout orange bills, which they use for hammering or prising open cockles, mussels and other bivalves. Mostly monogamous, they don't start breeding until they are at least three years old. They raise two or three chicks each year, and the chicks may rely on their parents for food for several months while they learn the technique of opening mussels. In the meantime, they feed on worms and scraps left in shells opened by adults.

There is one British representative, the Oystercatcher.

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