Sooty Oystercatchers are on of two species of oystercatcher found regularly in Australia with the other being the Pied Oystercatcher and very rare visits from New Zealand's South Island Oystercatcher. The striking black plumage makes it easy to tell the two common species apart and both have bright orange bills with pink lags. They are large for waders at 48-51 cm, with males being smaller than females and the northern subspecies being slightly smaller than the southern. Females also have longer, thinner bills and tend to favour soft prey (such as worms and small jellyfish) while the males use their thicker beaks to crack open molluscs. They prefer more rocky coasts than the Pied Oystercatcher, but not exclusively so.
The Sooty Oystercatcher is one of two species of oystercatcher likely to be found around Australia's coastline. In the Sydney region, these appear to be somewhat more common than the Pied Oystercatcher. As with all oystercatchers, it uses its large beak to crack open mollusc shells.
1-2: Port Adelaide, SA, 07/10/2012.
3-4: Newcastle, NSW, 15/08/2010.