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Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor)

Oystercatcher, Torea

The Variable Oystercatcher also known as Torea.

The variable oystercatcher inhabits mainly the sandy or rocky coastlines and establishes this as its own territory. This species of bird is endemic to New Zealand, meaning it is not found anywhere else in the world. They are also considered to be a threatened species.

One amazing fact about this oystercatcher in particular is that it is the only oystercatcher that is polymorphic. Polymorphic meaning it has different genetic variants. This oystercatcher's plumage can range in colour from pied to black. They are most often all black, but upon close inspection you will notice white specks on the underbelly, and white plumage under the wings.

Did you know? Moa eggs have been found at prehistoric Maori camps where they were thought to have been cooked and eaten.

The variable oystercatcher feeds mostly on molluscs, worms, crabs and small sea insects. They are found all over New Zealand, except the outlying islands.

Further Information on the Variable Oystercatcher:

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