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Black Skimmer

Rynchops niger


The Black Skimmer is the largest of the three skimmer species. It measures 40–50 cm (16–20 in) long with a 107–127 cm (42–50 in) wingspan.[2] This species ranges from 212 to 447 g (7.5 to 15.8 oz), with males averaging about 349 g (12.3 oz), as compared to the smaller female’s 254 g (9.0 oz).[3] The basal half of the bill is red, the rest mainly black, and the lower mandible is much-elongated. The eye has a dark brown iris and catlike vertical pupil, unique for a bird. The legs are red. The call is a barking kak-kak-kak. Adults in breeding plumage have a black crown, nape and upper body. The forehead and underparts are white. The upper wings are black with white on the rear edge, and the tail and rump are dark grey with white edges. The underwing colour varies from white to dusky grey depending on region. Non-breeding adults have paler and browner upperparts, and a white nape collar. Immature birds have brown upperparts with white feather tips and fringes. The underparts and forehead are white, and the underwings as the adult.


Sandy beach on Sanibel Island, off Florida's Gulf coast


Smaller birds in second photo are Sandwich Terns

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ceherzog 8 years ago

Thanks Donna!

ceherzog 8 years ago

Donna would you consider adding this and any other shorebirds you might spot on the Gulf Coast to my Mission?

gatorfellows 8 years ago

lovely flying formation you captured :)

DonnaPomeroy 8 years ago

Thanks drP and Yuko

drP 8 years ago

Beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing.

YukoChartraw 8 years ago

Excellent spotting!

Spotted by

Sanibel, Florida, USA

Spotted on Jan 1, 2013
Submitted on Feb 23, 2013


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