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Charadriiformes > Haematopodidae

South Island Oystercatcher

Haematopus finschi

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Identification

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Heavy-set black-and-white shorebird, affectionately known by New Zealand birders as “SIPO” (rhymes with “typo”). Shows a distinctive red eye, long thick reddish bill, and thick pale-pink feet and legs. Found breeding along braided riverbeds, pastures, and lakes in the South Island of New Zealand, with a few breeding records on the North Island. Most of the population migrates north to estuaries, harbors, and sandy beaches in the North Island and northern South Island. Regular vagrant to Australia during the winter. Often heard giving distinct “kleep” call. Similar to pied-morph Variable Oystercatcher in New Zealand; look for SIPO’s smaller size, sharp border between black and white on lower chest, and extensive white on rump and back. Distinguished from Pied Oystercatcher in Australia by smaller size, longer and thinner bill, shorter legs, and more extensive white up the back and on the wings.

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South Island Oystercatcher

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