American Oystercatcher Feeding

I’ve always liked this photo because it shows how this American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) is using its long bill to pry open a shell. (photographed at Fort De Soto County Park, Florida)

American Oystercatcher with incoming waveAmerican Oystercatcher prying a shell open – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

The tip of the bill is squared off and thin and as it gets thicker towards the top it makes a nice wedge for opening the shells so the bird can get to the mollusk inside.



  1. Julie Brown March 13, 2012 at 2:47 am

    That is quite an effective tool, I’m sure. The wave makes a great background. Another bird I have not seen yet.

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Julie, I hope while you are in Florida you will be able to photograph some American Oystercatchers. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Bob Zeller March 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Excellent, excellent photo, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Thank you very much Bob. They are great birds to photograph.

  3. judy watson March 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Awesome pic! And very interesting about the bill and being able to open those. Something I would like to see.

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Judy, I loved photographing American Oystercatchers so much that after I moved here I would dream about them being on the AI causeway. Now that would be an extremely rare sighting!

  4. Prairie Birder March 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Very beautiful Mia!

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Thank you very much PrairieBirder.

  5. Julie G. March 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I have yet to see one of these beautiful birds, so it’s especially nice to see the photograph you feature here on your wonderful blog. Great angle. Superb capture!

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Julie, I hope you get to see and photograph American Oystercatchers. They are such fun and so beautiful. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

  6. Scott Simmons March 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Lovely! These are such wonderful birds, and Fort De Soto seems to be the place to find them.

    • Mia McPherson March 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Fort De Soto is an awesome place to find American Oystercatchers Scott and they are tons of fun to photograph. Thanks for commenting.

Comments are closed.