- Rynchops niger
18" (46 cm)
- Black above
- White below
- Red legs
- Bill red with black tip like a blade. Lower mandible much longer, than the upper
Immature mottled upper appearance, with shorter bill.
There are 3 subspecies:
- R. n. niger :
- R. n. cinerascens:
- R. n. intercedens:
Breeds chiefly on sandbars and beaches; feeds in shallow bays, inlets, and estuaries.
Tight flocks can be seen simultaneously wheeling in one direction and then another.
They are mainly surface skimmers (hence the name) tip of the lower mandible cuts through the water. They will also wade in shallow water, jabbing at the fish.
3 or 4 brown-blotched buff eggs on bare sand, usually among shell fragments and scattered grass clumps.
They are particularly attracted to the newly-dredged sand-fill areas, which may contain colonies of up to 200 pairs. These sites will be abandoned as soon as too much grass appears.
Short barking notes.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Gochfeld, M. and J. Burger (1994). Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.108
- Lefevre, K. L. (2018). Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.blkski.01
- Zusi, R.L. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54056 on 5 February 2020).
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Black Skimmer. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 30 November 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Black_Skimmer
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