Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

The Black Skimmer is an intriguing species in the Gulls, Terns and Skimmers family. There are only three species of Skimmers in the world, but the Black Skimmer is the only one to reach Costa Rica during the winder. It accompanies migratory groups of birds, composed mainly of gulls, terns, sandpipers and plovers and can be found near the coast, in mud and salt flats that are shallow.

The Black Skimmer has black upperparts and white upperparts, similar to the American Oystercatcher, howerver the face of the Skimmer is also white, and the bill has a very different shape, with the lower mandible being longer by about 30% than the upper mandible, and also by having orange on the basal portion of the bill, and black on the distal portion, in both upper and lower mandibles.

Their name comes from the way they feed: They fly very low, “skimming” the water with their lower mandible. Fish and crustaceans that happen to be in their path are caught by the birds as they pass.

Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger - Rayador Negro

An individual photographed in Chomes, Puntarenas, with quite a bit of dowitchers and gulls in the background


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