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GALLERIES > BIRDS > CHARADRIIFORMES > LARIDAE > AFRICAN SKIMMER [Rynchops flavirostris]


African Skimmer Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

Photographed at Kazinga Channel, Uganda with White-winged Terns

The African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris) is a skimmer that lives in Senegal to northern Congo River and southern Nile Valley, southern Tanzania to the Zambezi Valley, and then to Natal and Angola.

Appearance

They have very long wings. The back, hindneck, and crown are black. The forehead and rest of the body is white, with a bright, long, orange beak that ends with a yellow tip. Their short forked tail is white, and their legs are bright red. The average size is about 15 inches(18 centimeters) long. Their voice is a sharp "kip-kip". Their bill structure is unique. The lower mandible is much longer than the upper mandible, and flattened sideways like scissor blades.

Location

The African Skimmer is found in Senegal to northern Congo River and southern Nile Valley, southern Tanzania to the Zambezi Valley, and then to Natal and Angola. They live in wide tropical rivers with sandbanks, lakeshores, and coastal lagoons. The African Skimmer is rarely seen in East African and South African parks.

Behavior

African Skimmers fly in lines over calm waters, and dip their lower mandibles in the water to feed. When the mandible touches a fish, the skimmer snaps its mouth shut. They feed mostly at dawn and dusk.

Reproduction

Pairs nest in loose colonies on large sandbanks, and lay 1-4 eggs in a large scrape.

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