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(Rhynchopidae), a family of birds of the order Charadriiformes. It has one genus (Rhynchops), comprising three species. The body measures up to 45 cm long, and the plumage is black with white. The wings are very long and pointed, and the tail is forked. The beak is large, laterally compressed, and the lower mandible (gonys) is longer than the upper and has tactile corpuscles. Skimmers feed on small fish and aquatic insects, flying at dusk or at night very low over the water and submerging the tips of the lower mandibles into the water (hence the name “skimmers”). They live on sea coasts and at the mouths of large rivers in the subtropical and tropical zones of Africa, Asia, and America. The birds nest in small groups on sandbars and islands after the dry season begins and the water level of rivers falls. The eggs (two to four in each clutch) are laid in a slight hollow in the sand. Immediately after hatching the young can run and swim, but the parents continue feeding them for a long time.