Zambia: African Skimmers

This rare bird is estimated to be below 15,000 worldwide, and while it’s not on the verge of extinction, it’s most definitely threatened and numbers are rapidly declining. They have a unique way of fishing – their bright red beak has unequal parts, with the bottom being much larger and flatter like a spade. The fly low above the water with an open mouth and the bottom part of the beak literally skimming the water surface for fish. As soon as the fish gets caught – the mouth snaps shut. They nest right on the edge of the water in the sand. I have seen them before in Senegal, but here on Kafue River, it was much closer and you could observe the behavior.