African black oystercatchers forage in the intertidal zone of their coastal habitat (5). In rocky areas the primary prey for the African black oystercatcher are mussels and limpets, but this coastal bird also feeds on whelks and other bivalves and crustaceans (2) (6). Feeding on such prey can pose difficulties as the tasty flesh is hidden within a hard shell. However, with its strong bill the African black oystercatcher can cut the muscle that holds the two halves of the shell together and stab the prey inside, or hammer the shell open on rocks (2). The African black oystercatcher can lay eggs from October to April, but laying occurs primarily from December to February. In a scrape in the sand, among shells or sometimes on bare rocks, a clutch of one to two eggs is laid (2). The eggs hatch after 27 to 39 days of incubation, and the young fledge between 35 to 40 days of age, ending a period in which the eggs and young are exceptionally vulnerable to terrestrial predators. African black oystercatchers are believed to first breed at the age of three or four, and live for over 18 years (2).
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