Black Skimmer

Rynchops niger

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

BLSK

Code 6

RYNNIG

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black Skimmer is native to countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The range of the Black Skimmer is approximately 14 million square kilometers. It is thought that the population of the Black Skimmer is about 200,000 individual birds. During the last decade the population of this bird has remained stable. As a result, the Black Skimmer has been given a rating of Least Concern, downgraded from a prior rating of Lower Risk. There is not currently any concern regarding possible population decline of the Black Skimmer.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black Skimmer: Odd-looking, tern-like bird with black upperparts and white underparts. Bright red bill with black tip, lower mandible longer than upper. Long, slim wings are dark above and silver-gray below. Tail is white with black central feathers. Legs, feet are red. Direct flight.


Range and Habitat

Black Skimmer: Breeds along Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Massachusetts and Long Island to Florida and Texas. Spends winters north to southern California and Virginia; also in Central and South America. Preferred habitats include sandy or gravelly bars and beaches, shallow bays, estuaries, and salt marsh pools.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kak-kak-kak", "kur-kur-kur"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • At hatching, the two mandibles are equal in length, but by fledging at four weeks, the lower mandible is already nearly 1 cm longer than the upper.
  • Development and increased beach traffic pose a major threat to many of their traditional nesting grounds. Even a slight disturbance in the colony reduces the rate of nesting success.
  • The Black Skimmer is the only bird species in the United States that has a larger lower mandible than upper mandible.
  • A group of skimmers are collectively known as a "conspiracy", "embezzlement", and "scoop" of skimmers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Black Skimmer

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X