Haematopus palliatus - Temminck, 1820
American Oystercatcher
Other English Common Names: American oystercatcher
Other Common Names: Pirupiru
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Haematopus palliatus Temminck, 1820 (TSN 176472)
French Common Names: Huîtrier d'Amérique
Spanish Common Names: Ostrero Americano, Pilpilén, Ostrero Americano, Pilpilén, Caracolero
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102614
Element Code: ABNNC01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Shorebirds
Image 21605

© Dennis Donohue

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Haematopodidae Haematopus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Haematopus palliatus
Taxonomic Comments: Considered conspecific with H. bachmani and H. ostralegus by some authors (AOU 1983). The three taxa constitute a superspecies (AOU 1998). Jehl (1984) concluded that palliatus and bachmani are distinct species; see DeBenedictis (1990) for contrary view.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure due primarily to extensive range; recent range expansion has occurred in some areas.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1B,N1M (02Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S1), Connecticut (S2B), Delaware (S1B), Florida (S2), Georgia (S2), Louisiana (S1), Maine (S1B), Maryland (S3B), Massachusetts (S2B), Mississippi (S1), New Jersey (S3B,S3N), New York (S3), North Carolina (S2S3B,S3N), Rhode Island (S2B,S2N), South Carolina (SNR), Texas (S3B), Virginia (S3B,S3N)
Canada Nova Scotia (S1B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: locally along Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Massachusetts south to Yucatan Peninsula and West Indies, along Pacific coast from central Baja California and Gulf of California to Guerrero, along coast of Costa Rica, and from Bay of Panama south to central Chile, and along Caribbean-Atlantic coast of South America to south-central Argentina. NORTHERN WINTER: north to North Carolina and Baja California, south to southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, generally in breeding range in West Indies and coastal South America (AOU 1983).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: North American populations are estimated to be about 8850; populations in South America are considerably larger, at least on the order of 50,000 (Morrison et al. 2001).

Short-term Trend Comments: Re-expanded range northward into New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, 1960s through 1980s.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: locally along Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Massachusetts south to Yucatan Peninsula and West Indies, along Pacific coast from central Baja California and Gulf of California to Guerrero, along coast of Costa Rica, and from Bay of Panama south to central Chile, and along Caribbean-Atlantic coast of South America to south-central Argentina. NORTHERN WINTER: north to North Carolina and Baja California, south to southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, generally in breeding range in West Indies and coastal South America (AOU 1983).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NJ, NY, RI, SC, TX, VA
Canada NS

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Mobile (01097)
CT Fairfield (09001), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009), New London (09011)
DE Kent (10001), Sussex (10005)
FL Bay (12005), Brevard (12009), Charlotte (12015), Citrus (12017), Collier (12021), Dixie (12029), Duval (12031), Franklin (12037), Gulf (12045), Hillsborough (12057), Indian River (12061), Lee (12071), Levy (12075), Manatee (12081), Martin (12085), Monroe (12087), Nassau (12089), Pasco (12101), Pinellas (12103), Sarasota (12115), St. Johns (12109), St. Lucie (12111), Volusia (12127), Wakulla (12129)
GA Bryan (13029), Camden (13039), Chatham (13051), Glynn (13127), Liberty (13179), Mcintosh (13191)
LA Iberia (22045), Jefferson (22051), Lafourche (22057), Plaquemines (22075), St. Bernard (22087), Terrebonne (22109), Vermilion (22113)
MS Hancock (28045), Harrison (28047), Jackson (28059)
NC Brunswick (37019), Carteret (37031), Dare (37055), Hyde (37095), New Hanover (37129), Onslow (37133), Pender (37141)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Cape May (34009), Monmouth (34025), Ocean (34029)
RI Bristol (44001), Newport (44005), Washington (44009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Thames (01100003)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Long Island Sound (02030203)+, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+
03 Albemarle (03010205)+, Pamlico Sound (03020105)+, Lower Neuse (03020204)+, White Oak River (03020301)+, New River (03020302)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Ogeechee Coastal (03060204)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+, Nassau (03070205)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Cape Canaveral (03080202)+, Vero Beach (03080203)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Little Manatee (03100203)+, Alafia (03100204)+, Tampa Bay (03100206)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, Econfina-Steinhatchee (03110102)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, New (03130013)+, Apalachicola Bay (03130014)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+, Mobile Bay (03160205)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+
08 Vermilion (08080103)+, Lower Mississippi-New Orleans (08090100)+, Eastern Louisiana Coastal (08090203)+, East Central Louisiana Coastal (08090301)+, West Central Louisiana Coastal (08090302)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: A large shorebird with a large, straight, laterally compressed red-orange bill (orange bill color not as extensive in juvenile) and moderately long neck and legs; head, neck, and back are black-dark brown; wings are dark with a broad white stripe; tail is dark with a large white patch at the base; dark upperparts are scaly-looking in juveniles; average length 47 cm (NGS 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Oystercatchers differ from other shorebirds in having a large, straight, laterally compressed, orange bill with a rounded tip and both mandibles the same length. Differs from American black oystercatcher by having extensive white areas in plumage (vs. all-black plumage).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size is 2-4 (usually 2-3). Incubation lasts 27 days, by both sexes. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest in 1-2 days, probably first fly at about 5 weeks. Initially, young depend almost entirely on parents for food.

In Virginia, reproductive success was highly variable; large proportion of pairs failed to fledge young; losses due mainly to high tides and predation (Nol 1989).

Typically monogamous; care of both parents may be required for successful reproduction; communal breeding has been observed (Lauro et al. 1992).

Ecology Comments: Often in pairs. Nesting density was 0.66-1.00 pairs/ha in Virginia, 4.86-13.05 pairs/ha in New York (Lauro et al. 1992).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migratory only at northern and southern extremes of range (Bent 1929). Northern populations migrate as far south as northern South America; migrant in Costa Rica August-early October and April-May (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Tidal flat/shore
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Rocky and sandy seacoasts and islands (AOU 1983); river mouths and estuaries, especially where rocks exposed at low tide; mudflats, salt ponds (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Nests on the ground in open sites often on high parts of sandy beaches, also among rocks, on islands, on shingle beds, occasionally in saltmarsh (Harrison 1979, Harrison 1978, Shields and Parnell 1990). In marsh habitats, nested on sand in North Carolina, on sand, wrack, or grass in New York and New Jersey (Lauro and Burger 1989).

Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly bivalves, echinoderms, crustaceans, and marine worms (Terres 1980). Often forages in intertidal zone; pecks and probes mud or sand, often through shallow water (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Length: 47 centimeters
Weight: 632 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Shorebirds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Breeding Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas of nesting adults and broods. Because separations are based on nesting areas, the foraging areas of different occurrences may overlap if nesting birds are traveling to distant places to feed.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance pertains specifically to nesting areas, not to locations of dispersed foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas.

The separation distance is an arbitrary value; it is impractical to attempt to delineate shorebird occurrences on the basis of dispersal patterns or metapopulation dynamics. Foraging ranges of some nesting shorebird species (see following) may suggest use of a larger separation distance, but this likely would result in occurrences that are too large and less effective for conservation planning.

Separation distance based on larger 'typical' breeding home ranges with diameters of 1.5 to 3 kilometers. Semipalmated Plovers have breeding home ranges up to 3 square kilometers, i.e. a diameter of just under 2 kilometers (Nol and Blanken 1999). Red-necked Phalaropes have a core home range of 1-3 hectares, but occasionally travel 1.5 kilometers to feed (Rubega et al. 2000). Stilt Sandpipers can forage up to 8 kilometers from nest (Jehl 1973). Mountain Plovers have an average home range of 56.6 hectares (Knopf 1996) but broods typically move 1-2 kilometers shortly after hatching (Knopf and Rupert 1996).

Territories: Common Snipe, 6.4-28.6 hectares (Mueller 1999); Long-billed Dowitcher, 100-300 meter diameter (Johnsgard 1981); golden-plovers, average 10-59 hectares (Johnson and Connors 1996); Long-billed Curlew, 6-20 hectares (Johnsgard 1981).

Nesting densities: Black-bellied Plover, 0.3-2.3 pairs per square kilometer (44 ha per pair at latter density; Hussell and Page 1976, Parmelee et al. 1967); Marbled Godwit, maximum density 1 pair/32 hectares (Stewart and Kantrud 1972).

Foraging distances: Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, up to 13 kilometers from nest (Elphick and Tibbits 1998, Tibbits and Moskoff 1999).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1.5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a smaller 'typical' home ranges (see Separation Justification).
Date: 25Mar2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Roost, Foraging concentration area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat (minimum can be reduced in the case of rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 5 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging or roosting birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Roost, Winter Feeding Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 5 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging or roosting birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 25Mar2004
Author: S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Dec1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Nol, E., and M. S. Blanken. 1999. Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus). No. 444 IN A. Poole and F. Gill, eds. The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 24pp.

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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