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The African Black Oystercatcher


Visit this rare Oystercatchers' home.

Haematopus moquini, Tobie.

Photograph right: The African Black Oystercatcher  in flight photographed from the beach immediately in front of Sunset Beach House

Oystercatcher flying off with limpet in mouth, from the rocks at the beach house.

Image above from http://www.uct.ac.za/  
The African black oystercatcher is in danger of extinction, its way of life increasingly threatened by man. It is the only oystercatcher which breeds in Africa. 
The oystercatcher is rarer than the Southern right whale and there are no more than 5 000 birds in the world.
Just like Hartlaub's Gull, despite its rarity in global terms, the oystercatcher is extremely common in the immediate vicinity of the Beach House. One can see many in 1 day.

Bird Watching

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The oystercatcher has an all-black plumage and  a most striking orange-red eye ring and red iris and a long red bill.  It has a haunting piping cry, often when flying, and may be seen in flocks as a protection against predators out of breeding season. It has strong shoulders and its blade-like bill can lever limpets off rocks in an manner unmatched by any other bird.

Flying off with a small limpet in her mouth. This one of a pair of oystercatchers that can often be seen feeding on the tidal rocks opposite the Beach House. One can watch them from the bedrooms!   

The oystercatcher, which mate loyally for life is vulnerable for a number of reasons: It’s nest is a scrape in the dune. Two eggs are usually laid during summer at the height of the holiday seasons in the Cape. The eggs and nest are not easily visible to the untrained eye. Restricting pedestrian movement on their breeding ground, like the dune in front of the Beach House, is highly favored because of this. The eggs can easily be trampled on.

Although they may live for 35 years, the birds, which eat limpets and mussels and not oysters, do not breed until they are three years old. The birds can only feed at low tide and do so at day and night. Because of their highly selective feeding area they are much more susceptible to human activity than most shore birds. Disregarded or entangled fishing line is lethal to oystercatchers as they become entangled in it.
(Text adapted from
Dispatch. Online. 29 January 1999. "Making the difference for the black oystercatcher" by Glyn Williams.)

Two Oystercatcher's checking out the surfer's at the Hoek, Noordheok. An adult pair of Oystercatchers photographed at "The Hoek". The Hoek is the rock  enclosed beach at the foot of Chapman's Peak.
March 2000.
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Visit Sunset Beach House home page.

Where to go?

Breakfast Fruit Coctail at the Beach Hotel. The dunes in front of the Beach Hotel - premier beachfront accommodation in Cape Town
Explore the Western Cape: Beach House pictorial sitemap. (Picture: Janthina sp.)

Fruit Cocktail
at the
Beach Hotel

Dunes at the Beach Hotel
Beach Front Luxury

Contact: info@sunsetbeach.co.za
Tel: +27 21 783 4283   Fax: + 27 21 783 4286

for pictorial

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Cape Town Beach Hotel Rates and Bookings. (Picture:Siffie (Haliotis parva)) Siffie for Beach Hotel Rates