A shy bird that is found throughout Australia and New Zealand. It prefers mudflats, sandbanks and sandy ocean beaches and is less common along rocky or shingle coastlines. Although rarely recorded far from the coast, the Pied Oystercatcher may occasionally be found in estuarine mudflats and on short pasture. They feed on bivalve molluscs, which are prised apart with their specially adapted bills. Food is found by sight, or by probing their long, chisel-shaped bills in the mud. Young Pied Oystercatchers are one of the few waders that are fed by their parents using this specialised feeding technique. Worms, crustaceans and insects are also eaten.
The Pied Oystercatcher breeds in pairs from October to January each year. Nesting takes place on sand, shell grit or shingle just above high water mark on beaches, sandbars, margins of estuaries and lagoons. The two or three eggs are well-camouflaged, being pale brown with darker brown and black blotches and streaks. Both sexes share parenting duties.