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skimmer,common name for certain sea birds resembling the related tern. Skimmers (genus Rhynchops) have long, laterally compressed bills of which the lower mandible is one fourth longer than the movable upper mandible. This bill is adapted to their technique of skimming the water's surface to catch the shrimp and small fish that form their diet. Skimmers are gregarious and partly nocturnal; their sensitive eyes narrow to slits while they roost during the day. The black skimmer, R. nigra (black back and white belly), the largest (20 in./50 cm) of the family and the only American member, is found on the Atlantic coast of North America and on both coasts of South America. Skimmers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Rhynchopidae.
Any of various ternlike birds, members of the Rhynchopidae, that inhabit tropical waters around the world and are unique in having the knifelike lower mandible substantially longer than the wider upper mandible.