This discussion was first published as part of the 2016 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding its status was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of this species as part of the 2017 Red List update this post remained open and the date of posting was updated.
BirdLife species factsheet for African Oystercatcher: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22693627
African Oystercatcher is currently classified as Near Threatened owing to its small population and hence almost qualifies for Vulnerable under criterion C1 but with an uncertain population trend.
This species breeds along the coast of Namibia and South Africa, with some movements to Angola and Mozambique during the non-breeding season. The total population is estimated at 6,670 individuals (Underhill 2014), roughly equivalent to 4,450 mature individuals. While this number is quite low, there is relatively strong evidence that the population has been increasing for some time thanks to improved habitat management, with a c. 46% increase between 1979/80 and 1997-2002, and this increase is likely continuing (Underhill 2014). Given that this species does not qualify for any threatened category, and the population is now increasing we suggest downlisting it from Near Threatened to Least Concern as has also occurred in Taylor et al.’s (2015) assessment of this species for the regional Red Data Book.
We welcome any comments on this proposed downlisting.
Underhill, L. 2014. Assessment of the conservation status of African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini. International Wader Studies 20: 97-108.
Taylor, M. R.; Peacock, F.; Wanless, R. M. 2015. The 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.