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Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

General Description: Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) are large, black-and-white terns with long wings and an unusually large, asymmetrical, heavy, black-and-orange bill where the lower mandible is nearly twice as long as the upper. Skimmers are sexually alike, black above and white below, except for white on the back of the neck during winter.

Skimmers are odd in that they forage by flying low over the water, dropping the lower bill into the water in flight. As they fly along, they snag little fish and other tasty items swimming in the top layer of water. When they hit something, the head snaps down so as not to break their neck in case it is too big to pick up. In this way, they can catch and hold several fish at a time, reducing the number of trips to the nest when feeding young.

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Laridae, Rynchopinae.

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

Favored Habitat: Coastal salt marshes and bays.

Where to Find: Don't look for Black Skimmers around Las Vegas. Rather, look for them on trips along the U.S. Gulf Coast and on trips to south Florida (e.g., Ding Darling NWR, the City of Dunedin, Everglades National Park, Miami area). Overseas, look for them in South and Central America, and in the Caribbean. Keep an eye out in the San Diego area and at the Salton Sea during warmer weather.

Comments: In young birds, the mandibles start out of equal length, the lower growing longer as the birds age.

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) If you were a tasty fish or a little shrimp, this might be the last face you ever see!
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Bathing with a friend is always more fun!
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Bathing with a friend is always more fun!
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, summer adults
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, summer adults
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, juvenile
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, juvenile
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, winter adults
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, winter adults
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer, Whimbrel, and Willet
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Black Skimmer in fight
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140904

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