Tōrea and tōreapango can be very similar in appearance especially when the variable oystercatcher (tōreapango) has a white chest (called a pied morph). One of the ways to tell them apart is to check if the white extends higher into the shoulder area giving the bird a white bar and outlining the curve of its folded wing. The tōreapango is slightly larger and heavier than tōrea. In the featured image above you can see a tōreapango at the top left and tōrea in the lower half of the image. Males and females are similar.

Torea is often referred to as SIPO, which is a lot easier than its long common name. They breed mostly in the South Island along stony river beds but can be seen almost everywhere on the coast outside the breeding season.

They can be found sharing the same estuary feeding grounds with variable oystercatchers. In July they suddenly all leave for the South Island.  Birds generally return to the same breeding ground each year. With land use around their South Island breeding areas changing the number of SIPO birds is falling.

These birds can live a long time (25 years or more) so by considering their habitats their numbers can in the very least remain stable and hopefully increase again.

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