Rynchops niger Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
The black skimmer is unmistakable in flight. This oddly proportioned bird feeds by flying low over the water, skimming the surface with its long lower bill. Skimmers feed by touch, rapidly closing the bill when they encounter food.
The black skimmer is the only bird in the US that has a larger lower mandible; the lower bill is 2-3 cm (1 in) longer than the upper bill. Interestingly, when the young hatch the upper and lower parts of the bill are of equal length. When the young fledge, at 4 weeks of age, the lower mandible is already longer than the upper. They eat fish, invertebrates and crustaceans.
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