Skimmers are tern like sea birds, which come under Rhynchopidae family, Charadriiforme order. Charadriiforme is also the order of birds: auks, gulls and waders. Rhynchopidae includes three species, which are given below with their binomial name:
- African Skimmer (Rhynchops flavirostris)
- Black Skimmer (Rhynchops niger)
- Indian Skimmer (Rhynchops albicollis)
These species are found in Africa, South Asia, and the Americas. These are the only species of bird, which have lower part of their beak longer than the upper. Also they are the only birds, who have slit shaped pupils.
Skimmers are tropical as well as subtropical birds. They live on eating small fishes. They fly low over the ocean surface. While flying they skim the water for small fishes with their lower mandible.
During the breeding season, a female skimmer lays 3-6 eggs on sandy beach and incubates it. Due to their restricted habitat, these species are susceptible for disturbance. The Indian Skimmer is assumed as in danger by the IUCN. Also the destruction and degradation of the rivers and lakes they use for feeding has became reason of their being in danger.