Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer
Photo credit: Jimmy Jackson
-Rynchops niger-

A tern-like seabird characterized by light graceful flight on smooth and steady beats of their long wings. Black skimmers forage (often in flocks) for small finfish, insects, crustaceans and mollusks, primary during low light and at night by flying low over shallow water with lower mandible (bill) slicing the surface. Lives on spoil islands and sandbars of primary and secondary bays. Some remain in our area all year. Bottom mandible unhinges when heavy object is encountered to avoid injury. Upper bill, legs and feet are bright vermilion; lower half of bill is black. Crown, nape and hind neck are black. Upper body is black while underparts and forehead are white.

Length: 18 inches
Wingspan: 44 inches
Weight: 11 ounces