Photographing Black Skimmers in Florida

Identifying Black Skimmers

Black Skimmers are large black and white birds with noticeably long wings. They are generally dark on top and white underneath. They have a bi-color bill that is orange at the base and then black to the tip. The lower mandible is about 1/3 longer than the upper. They have bright orange legs.

Identifying Behaviors

Black Skimmers have a few unique behaviors:

  • When they hunt, they drag their lower, longer mandible in the water to catch fish.
  • Sometimes you can find Black Skimmers lying on the beach on their bellies. Although they might appear ill, they are just resting (and far are easier to photograph in this pose).

Where to find Black Skimmers

Black Skimmers can be found year-round on the Florida coast. You can often find them hanging out with large groups of gulls and terns on beaches. Specifically, you can find them in:

  • Sebastian Inlet (Indian River County)
  • Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral (Brevard County)
  • Ponce Inlet (Volusia County)

When to Photograph

July through March

Tips on Photographing

To photograph a bird that dives, you should… [Philip, please describe some tips… maybe camera settings? Whatever you think might be helpful]

For Additional Information

For additional information on photographing Black Skimmers and many other shore birds, click here to sign up for our guided tour of Sebastian Inlet on October 15.


You might also enjoy


Perspective is defined as “the apparent distance, size and depth of objects within a two-dimensional image, it’s the relationship of the of the background to the foreground of the image.”

The Florida Master Naturalist Program

The FMNP provides those who educate others about Florida’s distinct ecosystems and wildlife with the knowledge they need to share their knowledge with others.