Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island information guide

The Black Skimmer is an unique bird to witness along the Assateague Channel and is one of the three skimmer species. The Black Skimmer is considered as a threatened species in Maryland. Skimmers are the only birds in the world whose lower mandible is longer than the upper. Skimmers are named so because of the way they feed. This bird flies just above the water with its bill open, skimming the water's surface with its long lower bill open like a pair of scissors. Their bodies are oddly proportioned: 18" in length, long, narrow wings ( 44" in wingspan) and they have very short legs. The Black Skimmer is black on top and white on the bottom. Their webbed feet are bright orange and their bills are very long and razor-shaped with a bright red base and black tip. The lower mandible is much longer (about on-third) than the upper. The Black Skimmer is found along the coastal United States from Massachusetts to Texas as well as Central America and South America. Their habitat includes coastal beaches, bays and estuaries. The Black Skimmer breeds in various colonies on islands and beaches. The female lays 3-5 eggs.

Birdwatching, Fishing and Ponies along Assateague
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Black Skimmer
(Rynchops niger)