The Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) is a unique bird that can be found along the coastlines of the Americas. It is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 17 to 21 inches in length and weighing between 8.8 to 13.8 ounces. The Black Skimmer’s most distinguishing field mark is its bill, which is long, thin, and sharply lower mandibled, allowing it to skim the surface of the water while flying to catch its prey.
During the breeding season, Black Skimmers can be found in large colonies along the coastlines of the United States, Mexico, and South America. They typically lay their eggs on sandy beaches or in other areas with open ground. After the breeding season, Black Skimmers migrate to warmer areas, such as Florida, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
In addition to their unique bill, Black Skimmers have other distinguishing field marks that make them easy to identify. They have a black cap and back, a white collar, and a white underbelly. Their wings are black on the top and white on the bottom, which is a characteristic that is visible during flight. The Black Skimmer’s tail is also forked, with a longer outer tail feather.
Black Skimmers are social birds and are often found in flocks, especially during the non-breeding season. They feed primarily on fish, which they catch by skimming the surface of the water while in flight. They also eat shrimp and other crustaceans, as well as insects.
Overall, the Black Skimmer is a fascinating bird with unique adaptations that allow it to thrive in its coastal habitat. With its distinctive bill, contrasting black and white plumage, and social behavior, it is a bird that is easily recognizable and a joy to observe in the wild.