A Tōrea Pango (Variable Oystercatcher) flying low over water with wings down.

Tōrea Pango

The Tōrea Pango (Tōrea, Variable Oystercatcher, Haematopus unicolor) is the less common of the two mainland oystercatcher species, but the one I see the most, by far, around Wellington.

The Pango in the Māori name is indicative of the fact that most of this species are completely black, or very nearly. The ‘variable’ in the name recognises that some do have white bellies and some are somewhere in between the two. Those with full white bellies make for a difficult species identification as they are very similar to the more common Tōrea (South Island Pied Oystercatcher, Haematopus finschi).

This specimen was in flight barely above the Pāuatahanui Inlet, near Motukaraka Point.



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