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The Oyster Catcher and the Boardwalk in JBay

The Oyster Catcher and the Boardwalk in JBay

The Oyster Catcher and the Boardwalk in JBay: “And as you see, those people walked right past the Oyster Catcher’s nest!” – Brucifire

The Oyster Catcher and the Boardwalk in JBay (youtube.com)

Ignorance is Bliss

Just the fact that there is a nesting oyster catcher right there, highlights the relevance and outcome of the proposed, er, half-constructed new boardwalk. From the Caravan Park to Kitchen Windows Restaurant, this is going to hopefully change things as they are, for good.

Oyster Catchers

The African Oystercatcher, also known as the African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini), is a large and charismatic wader native to the mainland coasts and offshore islands of southern Africa. Here are some fascinating details about this remarkable bird:

  • Appearance: The African Oystercatcher boasts completely black plumage, striking red legs, and a robust, broad red bill. Both males and females look similar, but females are slightly larger with a longer beak. Juveniles have soft gray plumage and acquire the characteristic red legs and bill after fledging¹.

Population: This near-threatened species has a population of over 6,000 adults. They breed between November and April along the southern African coast.

Habitat and Distribution: African Oystercatchers are typically sedentary, rarely leaving their territories. They inhabit rocky shores and beaches, where they can feed. Their breeding range extends from Lüderitz, Namibia to Mazeppa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Occasionally, they occur as vagrants in Angola and Mozambique.

Feeding Habits: These oystercatchers predominantly feed on “molluscs” such as mussels and limpets. They are also known to consume polychaetes, insects, and potentially even fish. Their specialized bills allow them to pry open mussels and loosen limpets from rocks¹.

Breeding: African Oystercatchers nest in bare scrapes on pebbles, sand, or shingle within about 30 meters (98 feet) of the high-water mark. Their distinctive loud piping calls resemble those of Eurasian oystercatchers, although the latter only occur as vagrants in southern Africa due to their migratory nature¹.

These remarkable birds play a vital role in coastal ecosystems, and efforts to protect their habitats are crucial for their survival. Despite the challenges posed by human encroachment, conservation initiatives help safeguard the African Oystercatcher’s future¹².

Source: Conversation with Bing, 2024/02/13
(1) African oystercatcher – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_oystercatcher.
(2) Facts on the African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini). https://oceanadventures.co.za/facts-on-the-african-black-oystercatcher-haematopus-moquini/.
(3) African oystercatcher – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures on … – Animalia. https://animalia.bio/african-oystercatcher.
(4) African Black Oystercatcher {Haematopus moquini} – SA-Venues.com. https://www.sa-venues.com/wildlife/birds_black_oystercatcher.php.

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