“In January 2013, I had opportunities to observe the feeding antics of the endemic Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor, Maori name: Torea-pango) in South Island, New Zealand (above).

“On 1st January, a number of these oystercatchers were actively foraging along the Estuary of Avon/Heathcote. They would insert their bills into the soft sediment to detect small shellfish (such as coastal snails), twisting and turning around until the prey item was successfully extracted (above).

“A brief video clip of this feeding behaviour may be previewed above.

“On the evening of 18th January, a pair of Variable Oystercatchers was foraging along a grassy field at Okarito (above).

“They were busy probing the soil in search of earthworms (above). This demonstrates their versatility at finding food outside.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
17th February 2013

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