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Charadriiformes > Laridae

African Skimmer

Rynchops flavirostris

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Identification

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Distinctive tern-like bird with long wings, a short tail, and a bizarre bill in which the upper mandible is shorter than the lower mandible. In slow flight, shows a very white underwing and a white stripe along the back of the upperwing. Feeds by skimming its knife-like lower mandible through the water and snapping up small fish that it makes contact with. Found very locally on sandbars in lakes and rivers. Call is a husky “chep.”

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African Skimmer

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