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matopus was introduced in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae to accommodate a single species, the Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus. The genus name Haematopus comes from the Greek haima α?μα blood, pous πο?ς foot. Haematopus had been used for the Eurasian oystercatcher by the French naturalist Pierre Belon in 1555. The name oystercatcher was coined by Mark Catesby in 1731 as a common name for the North American species H. palliatus, described as eating oysters. Yarrell in 1843 established this as the preferred term, replacing the older name sea pie Description The different species of oystercatcher show little variation in shape or appearance. They range from 39–50 centimetres (15+1⁄2–19+1⁄2 inches) in length and 72–91 cm (28+1⁄2–36 in) in wingspan. The Eurasian oystercatcher is the lightest on average, at 526 grams (1 pound 2+1⁄2 ounces), while the sooty oystercatcher is the heaviest, at 819 g (1 lb 13 oz). The plumage of all species is either all-black, or black (or dark brown) on top and white underneath. The variable oystercatcher is slightly exceptional in being either all-black or pied. They are large, obvious, and noisy plover-like birds, with massive long orange or red bills used for smashing or prying open molluscs. The bill shape varies between species, according to the diet. Those birds with blade-like bill tips pry open or smash mollusc shells, and those with pointed bill tips tend to probe for annelid worms. They show sexual dimorphism, with fem