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HORN H & KLEEFSTRA R (2019) Fatal forced adoption of an Oystercatcher chick Haematopus ostralegus by a Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula pair. LIMOSA 92 (1): 28-31.

On the 16th of June in 2018, a newly hatched Oystercatcher chick on the Wadden Sea isle of Rottumerplaat ends up in a neighbouring nest of a Common Ringed Plover and forces itself under the breeding plover. The pair of Oystercatchers does not make any attempt to get their chick back. The Common Ringed Plover then takes the Oystercatcher chick to the nearby beach, where the chick frequently tries to hide underneath the wings of the plover. This leads to a forced adoption, as also on the 17th of June the Oystercatcher chick is inseparable from the Common Ringed Plover. On the beach, the plover chases a family of Oystercatchers away from the adopted chick, but does not stand a chance when another adult Oystercatcher comes in and readily kills the adopted chick by pecking it to death. Oystercatcher chick adoption by another species seems to be an unknown phenomenon. On the other hand, Oystercatchers adopting chicks of other species like Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Blacktailed Godwit Limosa limosa has been documented, also in the Netherlands. An Oystercatcher killing a conspecific chick is a rarely observed phenomenon. The Oystercatcher chick probably had little chance of surviving anyway with a Common Ringed Plover as a foster parent, as young Oystercatchers depend on their parents to be fed, while plovers do not feed their precocial young.

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limosa 92.1 2019
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