African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini


Taxonomic source(s)
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Least Concern
2017 Least Concern
2016 Near Threatened C1
2012 Near Threatened C1
2008 Near Threatened C1
2006 Near Threatened
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Near Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type Land-mass type - continent
Land-mass type - shelf island
Average mass 692 g

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 705,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,840,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 4450 medium estimated 2014
Population trend increasing estimated -
Generation length (years) 13.4 - - -

Population justification: Population genetics suggest that there has been a low historical population size (Bray and Hockey 2015). Based on data from shoreline counts and aerial surveys, the population is now estimated at 6,670 individuals (Underhill 2014), roughly equivalent to 4,450 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The population is thought to be increasing thanks to improved habitat management on near-shore islands, with a c.45% increase between 1979/1980 and the early 2000s (Underhill 2014, Loewenthal et al. 2015). There have been some local declines, but it appears possible that in a large number of cases these declines may be a result of individuals moving to adjacent habitats after a site has experienced some degradation (in 72% of cases where a site showed a decline, the adjacent areas showed a population increase) (Loewenthal et al. 2015). Analysis of data from the South African Bird Atlas Project 1 and 2 show an increase in range size and reporting rates for this species (Brown et al. 2019).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Angola extant native yes
Mozambique extant vagrant yes
Namibia extant native yes
South Africa extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Namibia Namib-Naukluft Park
Namibia Mile 4 saltworks
Namibia Walvis Bay
Namibia Sandwich Harbour
Namibia Mercury Island
Namibia Lüderitz Bay islands
Namibia Possession Island
Namibia Sperrgebiet
South Africa Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve
South Africa Woody Cape Section: Addo Elephant National Park
South Africa Algoa Bay Islands: Addo Elephant National Park
South Africa Swartkops Estuary - Redhouse and Chatty Saltpans
South Africa Maitland - Gamtoos coast
South Africa West Coast National Park and Saldanha Bay islands
South Africa Dassen Island
South Africa Robben Island
South Africa Rietvlei Wetland: Table Bay Nature Reserve
South Africa De Hoop Nature Reserve
South Africa Dyer Island Nature Reserve

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline major resident
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches major resident
Marine Intertidal Tidepools major resident
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Larus dominicanus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Reduced reproductive success
Residential & commercial development Tourism & recreation areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Haematopus moquini. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023.