American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) is a member of family Haematopodidae. The bird is marked by its black and white body and a long, thick orange beak. This shorebird is approximately 19 inches (42 – 52 cm) in length.
It is found on the Atlantic coast of North America from New England to northern Florida, where it is also found on the Gulf coast. In the 19th century they became locally extinct in the northeast.
Oystercatchers are closely tied to coastal habitats. They nest on beaches on coastal islands and feed on marine invertebrates. The large, heavy beak is used to pry open bivalve molluscs.
Although Oystercatcher populations are low, the species is not protected under the Endangered Species Act.
These birds are not shy and will parade in relative close proximity to people. At least on Clearwater Beach.