Florida, Know Your Birds: Black Skimmer

The black skimmer is one of the most recognizable Florida birds. With dark black wings and a bright orange beak its look is almost as unique as its foraging style.

Black skimmers aer nesting in Florida.
Black skimmers are nesting in Florida.

A pair of black skimmers fish on Marco Island.
A pair of black skimmers fish on Marco Island.

The skimmer, as its name suggests, flies low along coastal beaches (most notably Marco Island in Southwest Florida. Skimmers dip their beaks in the water hoping to catch fish. The black skimmer is the only American bird in the skimmer family, which includes the Indian skimmer and the African skimmer.

Shorebirds nest on Tigertail Beach on Marco Island in Florida.
Shorebirds nest on Tigertail Beach on Marco Island in Florida.

Black skimmers are not protected by the federal government, but Florida recognizes them as a threatened species due to habitat loss. The birds nest on sandy beaches that are popular with tourists – including Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, which blocks off sections of the beach to allow for the nests.

These large, successful nesting colonies are likely to return year after year.

Previous Know Your Birds

Great Egret

Reddish Egret

Ibis

Black Crowned Night Heron

White Pelican

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