BIRDS of THE WORLD - An Online Bird Book
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GULLS and Allies

Gulls, terns, skimmers, skuas, puffins, and their allies belong to the order Charadriiformes. Charadriiformes is a diverse order and contains many other families. Most live near water and eat invertebrates or other small animals; however, some are pelagic (seabirds), some occupy deserts and a few are found in thick forest.

SKIMMERs

Order Charadriiformes  Family Rynchopidae - 1 genus

The Skimmers are a small family of tern-like birds. They are the only birds with distinctive uneven bills with the lower mandible longer than the upper. This remarkable adaptation allows them to fish in a unique way, flying low and fast over surfaces of water. Their lower mandible skims or slices over the water's surface ready to snap shut before a small fish is able to dart clear. They are the only birds known to have slit-shaped pupils. Their bills fall within their field of binocular vision and enable them to carefully position their bill and capture prey. They are tropical and subtropical species which lay 3-6 eggs on sandy beaches.


Genus Rynchops

Skimmer, African  Rynchops flavirostris  Found: Africa
The African Skimmer has black upperparts; bright orange bill with yellow tip (black tip in juveniles); white forehead, face, forehead, underparts; red legs.
Image by: 1) Robert Muckley  2, 4) Lip Kee - Namibia  3) Ian White - Botswana


Skimmer, Black Rynchops niger   Found: The Americas
The Black Skimmer has black upperparts; bright red base; black rest of bill); white forehead, face, forehead, underparts; red legs.
Image by: 1, 2,  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) Dick Daniels  - North Carolina
1) Juvenile (top)  2, 3) Juvenile 


Skimmer, Indian  Rynchops albicollis  Found: southern Asia
The Indian Skimmer has black upperparts; bright orange bill; white neck, face, forehead, underparts; red legs.
Image by: 1) Arindam Bhattacharya  2) The Belurs






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