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Black Skimmer
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Rhynchopidae

The Skimmers are a small family of tern-like birds in the order Charadriiformes, which also includes the waders, gulls and auks.

The three species have an elongated lower mandible. They feed by flying low over the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water for small fish.

They are tropical species which lay 3-6 eggs on sandy beaches. The female incubates the eggs.

Three species:


  • Charadrii: The waders.
  • Alcae. The auks
  • Lari
    • Laridae (gulls)
    • Sternidae (terns)
    • Stercorariidae (skuas)
    • Rynchopidae (skimmers)
      • Black Skimmer Rhynchops niger of inshore tropical Americas.
      • African Skimmer Rhynchops flavirostris of African rivers and coasts.
      • Indian Skimmer Rhynchops albicollis of large rivers in India and southeast Asia.

See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for an alternative classification.

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