Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

Origin: Caribbean and South America
Sighted at: Mallory Square, Key West, FL

Today’s picture features a big ol’ cameo from a brown pelican!

The black skimmer is a relative newcomer to the Keys, as far as I’m concerned. I never saw one in my years growing up here. I had no idea what these birds were when I first saw them. As it turns out, they’re a tern-like species of migratory bird that skims the surface of the water for small fish, crabs, and mollusks.

Black skimmers have catlike pupils – a rarity for birds!