Mr. or Mrs. Skimmer?

Black Skimmers are members of the tern family (Laridae), and though male terns tend to be on average larger than females, they tend not to exhibit any obvious differences to the casual human observer. Their plumage is the same, and differences like bill length and body size are a matter of degrees. The Black Skimmer follows this rule: The males are on average a little larger over all, and their bills are a little heavier and longer than the females’. This isn’t always obvious when you’re looking at a single bird, or at a whole mess of birds, but when a pair is loafing together, as these two are, the difference is more apparent and sometimes you can make an educated guess about which is the male (the bird facing to the right) and which is the female (the bird facing to the left).

Black Skimmer pair, July 2010.

–Lindsay

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About Collier County Shorebird Stewards

The Collier County Shorebird Partnership was formed in 2010 and has begun a steward program to help protect beach-nesting birds by informing beach-goers about these interesting animals and how they can help them nest successfully.
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