The family Haematopodidae includes 3 species found in North America.
The oystercatchers are found mainly on beaches, mudflats and rocky seashores. Their distribution is worldwide in temperate and tropical regions. Oystercatchers are large waders (40-45 cm in length, about 500 gm) with black-and-white or completely black plumage. Sexes are alike with the females slightly larger. The wings are long and pointed and the tail is short. The distinctive bright orange-red bill is long, stout and laterally compressed with a chisel-like tip. The stout legs are reddish and the tarsi are covered with small, hexagonal scales. The 3 short, thick toes are slightly webbed.
Food is mainly mollusks, crustaceans, annelid worms and insects. The strong bill has tactile cells in the tip and is used to open mussels, dislodge limpets from intertidal rocks or probe for food on sandy or muddy shores, river gravel and farmland.
The nest is a scrape on the ground, sometimes lined with shells, stones or bones or with such objects around the periphery. Eggs 2-4, yellowish-buff with brown or black markings; both sexes incubate about 26-27 days. The chicks run as soon as they are dry and are fed by the parents for 6 weeks. They fledge at 5 weeks. Maturity is at 2 years and 9 months. Longevity up to 36 years in the wild with an average probably more than 10 years.
Oystercatchers- Patuxent Bird ID Center