Black Skimmer

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Black Skimmer photographed 06/16/2017 at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, Texas.

Black Skimmers (Charadriiformes: Laridae: Rynchops niger) are relatively large and interesting birds that can be found from South America up through the Gulf of Mexico. These skimmers feed primarily on fish and are almost always found near bodies of water. In addition to the striking coloration perhaps the most noticeable feature is the unique bill.  Although the upper and lower bills are equal length when a skimmer hatches, before long the lower bill starts to grow out much longer than the upper bill.

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Black Skimmer photographed 06/16/2017 at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, Texas.

Black Skimmers use their long lower bills to catch fish.  An individual will fly just above the waves with its lower bill slicing through the water.  If the lower bill hits a fish, the upper bill immediately snaps shut and captures the prey.

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Black Skimmer photographed 06/16/2017 at Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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