Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Black Oystercatcher   …. (Variable Oystercatcher)


Haematopus unicolor

We never see the white speckled belly of the Variable Oystercatcher on Stewart Island as these become more common the further North you go. So we think we can call them “Black Oystercatchers). Most beaches will have a resident pair who “own” the beach and who are long term bonded. They will often “re-bond” with quite elaborate displays when one bird returns to the other,  And who will often see off other birds quite aggressively. Nesting is in late November/early December often alarmingly close to the upper spring tide line. Clutches of 1 or 2 and very occasionally a third “insurance egg” will hatch around 26 days later. The Insurance chick will never survive if it’s siblings do. The parents totally unable to support 3, especially when the third will be 4 or 5 days younger.

Size 480 mm

Black Oystercatcher

Black Oystercatcher

Nest just above spring tide level with an unusual 3 egg clutch

Black Oystercatcher

Perfect camouflage at 4 days hatched

Black Oystercatcher

One parent will always be on guard against Weka and Black Backed Gulls

Black Oystercatcher

Juvenile fully fledged, but still dependent on the parents

Black Oystercatcher Calls



Sails Ashore and Kowhai Lane are Solar Powered

Sails Ashore now produces 100 % of our electrical needs, and have cut our non renewable heating fuel usage to around 20% of pre solar.
Kowhai Lane is "Grid Tied" and exports excess electricity to the local grid.
Both have significantly reduced our carbon footprint



Sails Ashore, Kowhai Lane & Sails Tours

11 View Street,
Stewart Island, 9846

+64 3 219 1151
Email: tait@sailsashore.co.nz
Web: www.sailsashore.co.nz


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