1 a rapid superficial reader
2 a cooking utensil used to skim fat from the surface of liquids
4 gull-like seabird that flies along the surface of the water with an elongated lower mandible immersed to skim out food
The Skimmers, Rhynchopidae, are a small family of tern-like birds in the order Charadriiformes, which also includes the waders, gulls and auks. The family is comprised of three species found in South Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
The three species are the only birds with a lower mandible longer than the upper. They feed by flying low over the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water for small fish. They are the only birds known to have slit-shaped pupils.
They are tropical and subtropical species which lay 3-6 eggs on sandy beaches. The female incubates the eggs. Because of the species' restricted nesting habitat the three species are vulnerable to disturbance at their nesting sites. One species, the Indian Skimmer, is considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to this as well as destruction and degradation of the lakes and rivers it uses for feeding.
See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for an alternative classification. The genus name Rynchops is often spelled Rhynchops (as in some of the later editions of the works of Linnaeus), though the first version is taxonomically valid, being Linnaeus's original spelling.
- BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Rynchops albicollis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/5/2007
- Skimmer videos on the Internet Bird Collection
skimmer in Czech: Zoboun
skimmer in German: Scherenschnäbel
skimmer in Spanish: Rynchopidae
skimmer in Esperanto: Tondilbekulo
skimmer in French: Bec-en-ciseaux
skimmer in Western Frisian: Skimkers
skimmer in Hungarian: Ollóscsőrűmadár-félék
skimmer in Dutch: Schaarbekken
skimmer in Japanese: ハサミアジサシ族 (Sibley)
skimmer in Norwegian: Saksenebber
skimmer in Polish: Brzytwodzioby
skimmer in Portuguese: Bico-de-tesoura
skimmer in Russian: Водорезовые
skimmer in Chinese: 剪嘴鸥属