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Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Chesapeake Bay

By Deane Winegar

Design by Lenz, Inc. Decatur, Georgia.

Chesapeake Bay > Sidebars > Black Skimmer

Black skimmer (Rynchops niger)

Black Skimmer

People are inevitably amazed the first time they see a black skimmer (Rynchops niger) flying just over the water, with lower mandible cutting the surface. When the skimmer connects with a fish, the head snaps down and the beak closes on the prey. This skillful flyer is black above and white below, with a red beak tipped with black. The black skimmer is the only bird to have a lower mandible longer than the upper. Undisturbed nest sites can be difficult to find because eggs are laid right on sandbars and beaches, usually among shell litter.

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Published (print): 2000, Published (Web): April 2001, Revised (Web): November 2002, ISBN: 1-56352-544-5
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