Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger)
… are sea birds, occurring down the Atlantic and southern Pacific coasts.Chicks hatch with mandibles of the same length; the distinctive uneven bill only develops as the young birds grow. The bill is knife-thin, allowing it to slice cleanly through water, and is touch-sensitive. The birds fly just above the water’s surface with the lower mandible in the water; the moment it contacts something - usually a small fish, but crustaceans or other invertebrates are also taken - the bill snaps shut. Skimmers also have another adaptation unique among birds: their pupils are vertical slits, as in cats’ eyes. This is thought to help with glare from the water’s surface, allowing the birds to more easily spot potential prey.
Photo by Trish Gussler (Trishrg) on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger)

… are sea birds, occurring down the Atlantic and southern Pacific coasts.Chicks hatch with mandibles of the same length; the distinctive uneven bill only develops as the young birds grow. The bill is knife-thin, allowing it to slice cleanly through water, and is touch-sensitive. The birds fly just above the water’s surface with the lower mandible in the water; the moment it contacts something - usually a small fish, but crustaceans or other invertebrates are also taken - the bill snaps shut. Skimmers also have another adaptation unique among birds: their pupils are vertical slits, as in cats’ eyes. This is thought to help with glare from the water’s surface, allowing the birds to more easily spot potential prey.

Photo by Trish Gussler (Trishrg) on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)

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    Darwin commented in ‘The Voyage of the Beagle’ that one would expect that the nature of these birds’ fishing styles to...
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    Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger)
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    It should also be known that skimming is a ridiculous way to feed, namely because of the physical pressures involved...
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