Jeffreys Bay
Black Oystercatcher released in Jeffreys Bay

An African Black Oystercatcher was released back into the wild at Boneyards beach on Friday 21st July after treatment and stabilization at Oribi Vet, where one of it’s toes had to be amputated.

Both Nikita’s (named after his eventual captor) legs had fishing line wound around and cutting into them for at least 2 months.

Because he could still fly and was feeding well he would easily escape attempts from well-wishers wanting to free him. He eventually become quite famous on local social media sites.

SANCCOB 082 890 0207 and Bayworld Strandings 071 724 2122 may be contacted in cases of injured marine animals.

Photo by Louise Creed.

According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) the species is classified as Near Threatened on the Red List

These birds are monogamous slow breeders; breeding exclusively along the coast of southern Africa.

Breeding takes place from October to April with a peak during December and January. Females reach sexually maturity when they are 3 years old and males at 4 years.

They forage exclusively during low tide in the intertidal zones.

Adults are known to live for over 18 years.

These birds excrete nutrient-rich guano, which may land in the sea. This guano is absorbed by algae growing along the shore.

The algae therefore grow and reproduce faster, producing millions of spores which are consumed by limpets. The limpets also grow and reproduce faster increasing the food available for the African Black Oystercatcher.

The role of the African Black Oystercatcher is to control the population of its prey within the marine ecosystem.

African Black Oystercatchers are excellent indicators of the health of the coast because they are highly susceptible to human development.

This bird has played a vital role in reducing and controlling the population of the alien invasive Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) within the marine ecosystem, thus reducing competition between the native and alien mussels, and increasing the population of native mussels along the coast of South Africa.

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