Quite often you will hear these birds before you see them as they are very vocal!

The variable oystercatcher is a large heavily-built, black shorebird with a long, bright orange bill, found around much of New Zealand's coastal areas.

The adults have black upperparts, their underparts vary from all black, through a range of ‘smudgy’ intermediate states to white. They have a conspicuous long bright orange bill (longer in females), and stout coral-pink legs. The iris is red and eye-ring orange.

You often see them in pairs, busily probing for shellfish in the sands.  They are fiercely protective of their nests and will become aggressive towards other birds, and people  who venture too close to their nests.

They also undertake distraction displays on the ground in defence of eggs and chicks.

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