Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) - HBW 3, p. 324

French: Huîtrier fuligineux German: Rußausternfischer Spanish: Ostrero Negro Australiano
Other common names: Spectacled Oystercatcher (opthalmicus)

Taxonomy: Haematopus fuliginosus Gould, 1845, Tasmania.
Occasional hybridization recorded with H. longirostris. Form opthalmicus generally considered to be a race of present species, based on a putative region of intergrading with nominate fuliginosus in W Australia, where both taxa are rare, but no good evidence of interbreeding; also, some confusion regarding range limits of both forms, with opthalmicus usually said to be restricted to Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula; striking differences in eye-ring colour suggest that opthalmicus may well be a distinct species; field and laboratory research requir.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Haematopus fuliginosus Gould, 1845, Tasmania.
Occasional hybridization recorded with H. longirostris. Form opthalmicus generally considered to be a race of present species, based on a putative region of intergrading with nominate fuliginosus in W Australia, where both taxa are rare, but no good evidence of interbreeding; also, some confusion regarding range limits of both forms, with opthalmicus usually said to be restricted to Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula; striking differences in eye-ring colour suggest that opthalmicus may well be a distinct species; field and laboratory research required, in order to clarify this case (see page 309); emendation of name to ophthalmicus is not justified. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • opthalmicus Castelnau & Ramsay, 1877 - coast and islands of N Australia from Shark Bay (CW Western Australia) to Lady Elliot I (SE Queensland).
  • fuliginosus Gould, 1845 - coast and islands of Australia, from Houtman Abrolhos Is (CW Western Australia) round S coast and up E coast to about Brisbane (SE Queensland); Tasmania.