BRIGGSY’S BIRDS: Molluscs a favourite for this bird
If you go down to the sea today you might see a Pied Oystercatcher.
It is black with a white breast and belly and a bright orange-red bill, eye and legs.
Young birds are similar in appearance to the adults, but lack the intense red-orange colours and are brown rather than black.
The Pied Oystercatcher is shy of humans and seldom allows close approach.
They prefer mudflats, sandbanks and sandy ocean beaches.
Oystercatchers feed on bivalve molluscs, which are prised apart with their specially adapted bills.
They use their long, strong bills to cut open the adductor muscles (that hold the two shell halves together) in order to eat the soft mollusc’s body inside.
Food is found by sight, or by probing their long, chisel-shaped bills in the mud.
Young Pied Oystercatchers are fed by their parents using this specialised feeding technique.
They can be seen at Boyne Island and Tannum Sands but be careful when walking in the soft sand above the high tide mark between August and January when they are breeding.