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Oystercatcher Conservation Programme

Researcher/s: Douglas Loewenthal, Phillip Hockey, Dane Paijmans, Many More

Project Webpage


Species: African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini)
Location: Coast of Southern Africa, Whole Country, Southern Africa
Click to view sighting map
Running From: 1979 to present
Ring Type: Legring: Engraved colour rings
Colour Combination: Colours vary per region (see image)


The FitzPatrick Institute’s Black Oystercatcher Programme is a long-term research activity (>30 years) that has gained a very good understanding of many aspects of the biology and population dynamics of African Black Oystercatchers. The projects executed up until now have established an upward trend in population numbers which bode well for the future of this species.

The colour rings used for this project range over the years from basic colour ring combinations to the coloured alpha/numeric rings we use today. The current projects ring chicks from the various regions (Figure) with set colours enscribed with a three digit number. Metal rings are then used on the opposite leg.

Papers Pubished from this project

  • Hockey PA, Leseberg A, Loewenthal D. Dispersal and migration of juvenile African Black Oystercatchers Haematopus moquini. Ibis. 145(3).
  • Rao et al. 2014. Coastal dispersal by pre-breeding African Black Oystercatchers Haematopus moquini. Marine Ornithology. 42: 105–112.
  • Loewenthal D, Paijmans DM, Haupt PW, Hockey PA. 2015. Trends in African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini populations between the early 1980s and early 2000s, with consideration of the influence of protected habitats and food availability. Ostrich, 86(1-2): 9-21.
  • Loewenthal D, Paijmans DM, Hockey PA. 2015. How do African Black Oystercatchers Haematopus moquini recruit into high-density populations?. Ostrich. 86(1-2):1-8.
  • Loewenthal D, Paijmans DM, Hockey PA. 2015. Year-round territoriality in long-lived birds: rethinking the concept of carrying capacity. Ostrich. 86(1-2):23-34.
  • Loewenthal D, Paijmans DM, Hockey PA. 2016. Factors affecting the breeding success of the African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini): a perspective on protection and food availability. African Zoology. 51(4):193-202.