Black Skimmer

Rynchops niger

Image of a Black Skimmer flying over the water with its wings extended.
Image by ‘Googie man’ on Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Physical: The Black Skimmer can reach up to 50 cm in length.  They have a black dorsal surface, and are white ventrally.  Their bills are red with a black tip.  Lower mandibles extend past the upper, enabling them to scoop the water.

Habitat: R. niger make their homes on coastal beaches and bays from Cape Cod to South America.  They winter in the southern part of this range.

Feeding: Black Skimmers eat small fish, insects, and smaller crustaceans such as shrimp.

Breeding: R. niger lay 3 to 4 brown blotched, buff eggs in shallow scrapes of sand.  Incubation period is approximately 3 weeks.  Breeding occurs from Massachusetts to Florida, and to Texas on the Gulf Coast.

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