Oystercatchers are a colorful addition to many marsh shoreline
areas along Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague.
These shorebirds have black & white bodies, bright red-orange
bills, pink legs & feet, and red eyes. Their noisy whistle
sounds are also very distinctive. They are large in size (16-21").
Their red-orange bills are long and flattened at the side and
are designed to catch and open the shells of oysters, mussels,
and clams. These birds are found on the Atlantic and South Pacific
coasts. Their habitat includes sandy and pebbly beaches, mudflats,
and borders of salt marshes. They lay 2-4 eggs per clutch. They
were once hunted to near-extincetion along the Atlantic Coast.
by Assateague Explorer © 2002