Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer, skimming

Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-1001The Black Skimmer is a cousin of the gull and tern but with a scissorlike bright red bill. It's bill is very odd in that the lower mandible is approximately one third longer than it's upper bill giving it a very unusual appearance. The odd beak doesn't become uneven until the juvenile is almost fully grown. It flies low across the water and skims the water with it's lower bill to scoop prey up into it's mouth. When it senses, by feel, the small crustaceans that it feeds on, it snaps it's bill shut. The precision that this requires is a sight to behold. The water depth must be shallow and at just the perfect level.
Black Skimmer flying just above surface of water

sandra calderbank

Blog and/or Portfolio