Oyster Catcher

This beautiful wader, African Oyster Catcher (Haematopus moquini), can be seen right here on the beach in Saldanha Bay.  These birds mate for life and their average lifespan is around 35 years.  The females are slightly larger than the males but their appearance is otherwise very similar, red eyes, red beaks and red legs complimented by beautiful black plumage. 

We have a few pairs living close to Gultyde Guesthouse as we see them daily on the beach.  They rarely leave their territories and their nests can be found above the highwater mark on rocky shores.

It is special to see them so regularly now as they were on the endangered species list as recently as 1998.  Luckily to good conservation work they are no longer under threat.

They feed mainly on molluscs and would do very well here in the Bay where there is plenty of mussels and limpets on demand. What a beautiful bird to see up close.