The lower mandible of skimmer birds is used to improve their nighttime fishing technique by disturbing phosphorescent plankton in the water, attracting fish to the surface.

“The skimmer…has a unique fishing technique. It hunts at dusk or by night, flying low across the water, opening its beak and trailing its lower mandible in the water as it flies. This creates a line of light in its wake, which attracts fish. The bird then returns along the same path to pick up the fish, its beak snapping shut on contact with an edible object.” (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:154)

Last Updated August 18, 2016