Nov 17 2013


Published by at 7:30 am under Water and Shore

American oystercatcher (photo by Gintaras Baltusis)

American oystercatchers look so unusual that it's hard to mistake them for anything else:  big orange bill, yellow red-rimmed eyes, bold black, white and brown pattern, and thick beige legs.

Gintaras Baltusis found these two at Breezy Point, New York in late September.   Look closely and you can see they aren't the same age.

The juvenile (below) has the same feather pattern but doesn't have yellow eyes and his bill is still half black.

American oystercatcher (photo by Gintaras Baltusis)


Before Mark Catesby renamed them in 1731 American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) were called Sea Pies because of their pied plumage.  Fortunately their new name describes what they eat and cannot be confused with what we eat, a casserole called a Sea Pie.

Can you think of other pie-named birds?  I know of three in North America.


(photos by Gintaras Baltusis)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Pied”

  1. Robon 17 Nov 2013 at 10:27 am

    Well, Pied-billed Grebe is the obvious one, and being that I live right on the Allegheny River, I see these quite frequently.

    I must admit, I had to look the other 2 up (in the bird banding codes), and I’m really not familiar with them, but I won’t spoil the fun here.

  2. Lauren Conkleon 17 Nov 2013 at 11:16 am

    I can think of 2 offhand. Pied-billed grebe, and “bald” eagle was shortened from “piebald” eagle.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply