New Zealand has a couple of types of Oystercatchers, well actually three, if you count one that is only on a very distant island, but here on the main two islands there are two. The South Island Oystercatcher, and the Variable Oystercatcher. The Variable gets it's name fir that exact reason, it varies in color. There is the all black Phase, the Pied, or black and white phase, and the intermediate phase with a mostly back body, but some muddled black and white plumage on the belly. So far here on the South Island, 95 % of the Variable Oystercatchers have been the black phase. 95% of all the Oystercatchers I have seen though have been South Island Oystercatchers. The Variable Oystercatcher, black phase, looks very much like the Black Oystercatcher from the Pacific Northwest, and the Sooty Oystercatcher that we hope to see once we get to Australia.
The South Island Oystercatcher is a classic black and white with, with the white extending up above the front of the wings.
The Variable Oystercatcher, Black Phase, are a striking bird, with the obvious eye ring.
We stopped at an area called Pancake Rocks, to look at the rock formations, as well as have a chance at some Gannets and Petrels. The Gannets and Petrels no showed, but the lone Variable Oystercatcher was sitting down in the middle of all the crashing waves, as if it owned the place.