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On Sep 19, 2012, RosinaBloom from Waihi New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:
The Variable Oystercatcher lives scattered around the New Zealand coast.
They forage for limpets, mussels, gastropods and chitons that are too big for the slimmer build South Island Pied Oystercatcher.
They probably begin breeding at four years, and during the breeding season from October to February the winter flocks break into pairs to occupy territories around the seashore. The birds defend their domains with piping displays, fights and aerial chases.
Egg laying extends from October to February, and if the first clutch is lost they lay again later in the season in an unlined nest scape or lined with shells, pebbles or twigs usually on a sandy ridge. The eggs are olive-grey with dark brown spots and waves. Each egg is laid two days apart. Both sexes incubate for about one and a half hours at a time. The eggs hatch after 26 to 29 days, and the parents brood the chicks for one or two days. At six weeks the chicks fly.