BirdLife South Africa has chosen the near-endemic African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini as the Bird of the Year for 2018. The African Black Oystercatcher is a modern-day conservation success story with its population having dramatically increased over the last few decades, leading to its regional red listing status being downgraded from Near Threatened in 2000 to Least Concern in 2015. Although numbers are on the rise, the African Black Oystercatcher still faces some challenges, especially where it breeds in or near urban centres. The biggest threats include continued habitat loss due to coastal development, and disturbance of breeding birds by beach visitors and their dogs. A proactive intervention and awareness programme by the Nature’s Valley Trust, in collaboration with BirdLife South Africa, is addressing some of these issues and enabling people to #ShareTheShores with these iconic birds.

BirdLife South Africa in collaboration with the Nature’s Valley Trust and Chrissie Cloete (chrissiecandraw), and with funding from the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust and Hawarden Trust, have developed a series of educational tools and lesson plans which are available for download (below).