Have you seen this bird along the beach in Florida?
The bird species you may have seen at and along Florida beaches, including Clearwater Beach, Anna Maria Island, Siesta Key Beach, Miami Beach, and the coastal waters of Key West.
One of the most obvious physical traits of this bird is the black feathers that cover most of the bird’s body. The feathers extend to its wings and back creating a clear contrast with the white underside feathers of the wings. The birds are of an average height of around 18 inches and an average weight of around 10-12 ounces.
You may have noticed the bird’s behavior of skimming along the water’s surface in search of food. The black and white Florida birds submerge the beaks while skimming, allowing the bird to catch fish swimming near the surface.
The bird looks a little like a Toucan with just black and white feathers and an orange beak with a black tip. The legs of this bird have the same orange color as the beak. You may have seen the birds on Clearwater Beach, which is located on the west side of Florida.
Another beach where you may have seen these black and white feathered birds is Siesta Key Beach, also located on the Gulf of Mexico, below Clearwater Beach and near Anna Maria Island.
So, knowing the colors and size you can determine that the bird species is called the Black Skimmer. The black feathers and obvious skimming behavior is why the birds have the name Black Skimmer.
They have protected nesting areas on many of the Gulf Coast beaches. Pictured here is the warning sign outside the protected area as well as close-up pictures of the Black Skimmer.
Black Skimmer Nesting Area Sign – Tampa Bay area of Florida
Black Skimmers, Group Photo