Indian Skimmer

Indian Skimmer

#GS-03 Biodiversity Conservation

For Prelims

Indian Skimmer

  • Scientific Name: Rynchops albicollis.
  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • Total population: Less than 2,500 birds
  • It can be noticed by a thick, orange-yellow bill with a slightly longer lower mandible (jaw) which is a striking feature of the Indian skimmer.
  • The Indian skimmer can grow upto a length of 40-43 cm.


  • The Indian skimmer is found in the coastal estuaries of western and eastern India however, it is more widespread during winter.
  • They are primarily found on larger, sandy, lowland rivers, around lakes and adjacent marshes and, in the non-breeding season, in estuaries and coasts.
  • Godavari estuary has become a prime and safe habitat for Indian skimmer.
  • Almost 250 Indian Skimmers were seen in the southern part of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • About 20% of the total population Indian Skimmer birds nest along river Chambal.


  • The decline in its population is primarily due to the degradation of wetland and riverine habitats.
  • The damming of the Chambal River, in upstream Rajasthan, has had adverse impact on its population at National Chambal Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh.
  • This has been mainly due to the dropping water levels allowing predators and livestock access to breeding islands.

Source “Godavari estuary has become prime habitat for Indian skimmer: expert