The variable oystercatcher is a large heavily-built shorebird. Adults have black upperparts, their underparts vary from all black, through a range of ‘smudgy’ intermediate states to white.
Variable oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor) occur around most of the coastline of New Zealand, and breed most commonly on sandy beaches, sandspits and in dunes.
They are very vocal; loud piping is used in territorial interactions and when alarmed. Chicks are warned of danger with a sharp, loud ‘chip’ or ‘click’.
Their status is ‘Endemic, Recovering’.
Source: Department of Conservation and licensed by greatbarrierisland.nz for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/