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Black Skimmer Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized ternlike seabird with very long wings and an outsized bill in which the lower mandible is much longer than the upper.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Laughing Gull, slightly smaller than a Royal Tern (but with longer wings).

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 15.8-19.7 in (40-50 cm)
      • Weight: 9.3-12.9 oz (265-365 g)
      • Wingspan: 42.9-45.3 in (109-115 cm)

Regional Differences

Black Skimmers in North America have a dark tail with white outer feathers. In parts of Brazil through Argentina, the subspecies intercedens has a brown tail.