Ten facts about Black Skimmers

Birdorable Black Skimmer

1. Black Skimmers use their elongated lower mandibles to feed by skimming it over the water.

2. Baby Black Skimmers are born with their upper and lower mandibles the same length. The longer lower mandible grows during fledging.

3. There are three species of skimmer in the world; the Black Skimmer is the only skimmer found in the Americas.

4. Black Skimmer pairs share parental duty. Males and females both incubate the eggs - in fact, male Black Skimmers even have brood patches. Both parents also brood the newborn chicks and feed the nestlings.

5. Folk names for the Black Skimmer include Seadog, Scissor-bill, and Cutwater.

6. Black Skimmers are active throughout the day, but are mainly crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.

7. Black Skimmers have large vertically-oriented pupils like cats. Such pupils are unique in the bird world.

8. Although Black Skimmers spend most of their life near water, they do not swim.

9. Black Skimmers nest along the Gulf Coast and thus are one of the species directly threatened by the BP Oil Spill Disaster of 2010. Their unique feeding method - skimming the water - makes them uniquely vulnerable to the spilled oil. As of November 30th, 192 dead skimmers were noted by the FWS in the area of the spill.

10. The Black Skimmer is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Black Skimmer was added to Birdorable on December 2nd, 2010.

Photo of a Black Skimmer


Addason Kwick on January 17, 2018 at 4:45 PM wrote:
these are cool facts i used them for a project
Wayne on June 19, 2018 at 2:18 PM wrote:
One seem on Okanagan Lake BC Canada 18 June 2018. Very nice to observe.
Andrew on October 11, 2018 at 2:26 AM wrote:
this is a black skimmer
Louise A Kennedy on July 27, 2020 at 9:00 PM wrote:
Why does the black skimmer sometimes lie flat in the sand?? Thank you, Louise St. Augustine, FL
Skimmer on April 16, 2021 at 5:24 PM wrote:
Skimmers be skimmen all day
Spurwing Plover on June 2, 2022 at 4:51 PM wrote:
Fly low over the water with lower mandible dragging through the water to catch a meal

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