Black Skimmers

Marine Life Nuggets


Black Skimmers!

by Xamara L Maisonet

January 2017

I sat comfortably in my beach chair with sunglasses on,  ready for my “nothing to do day”. We were close to the shore line where the soft waves sooth the ambience noise.

Two peculiar bird flew by close to the water and shore line.  They caught my attention, but I was there for beach business so I continue to relax.  Few minutes later they were there again, two of them, one in front of the other. The birds were flying so low, almost touching the water. The duo passed by over and over again, they lifted their flight a little and continued flying until they disappear from my sight.  I never seen that kind of bird before. Their strange orange and black beak woke up my relax mode to alert mode. I notice that when they got close to the water, they skim the water with their lower beak. During the day I try numerous time to capture them in flight with my camera. I wanted to see the bird in details. To be honest, most of  my afternoon went by trying over and over to get pictures.

Scanning my pictures for details, I couldn’t find the birds eyes. I looked, I zoom, and there were no eyes! I thought to myself:

“Maybe they don’t have eyes? No! Impossible!”

At that moment, I wanted to take more pictures to  find the eyes of my flying friends. A little prayer asking them to stop flying won’t be a bad idea..  I wanted to meet the black and white feather creature in person,  a close encounter.

For my surprise my prayer request got answered. I was sitting on my beach chair again, looking diligently everywhere. Then,  I hear my husband calling,

“Xamara, hurry come here now! Hurry!”

I ran toward him and there it was, my friend stopped by to model for me.


                                                                                                                                         Can you see the eyes?

Fun Facts

about black skimmers
  • There are only three species of skimmers: black, Indian, and African skimmer
  • The black skimmer is the largest of the three species
  • They can be found in the coastal areas of  North, Central and South America
  • The lower mandible is longer than the upper one
  • Is the only bird in America that have the unusual feeding habit of skimming the water to capture small fish, and small crustaceans
  • Their young ones have the same length on both mandibles
  • black skimmer are not in the endangered list, but it is on the United State of America  watch list 2014
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