This species is listed as Vulnerable because its population is undergoing a rapid decline as a result of widespread degradation and disturbance of lowland rivers and lakes.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
40-43 cm. Typical skimmer. Black above. White forehead and collar and white below. Long, thick, deep orange bill with yellow tip and longer lower mandible. In flight, white trailing-edge to wing and short forked tail with blackish central feathers. Non-breeders are duller and browner above. Juvenile has dusky orange bill with blackish tip, paler, brownish-grey crown and nape with dark mottling and paler, more brownish-grey mantle, and whitish to pale buff fringing scapulars and wing-coverts. Voice Nasal kap or kip notes, particularly in flight and when disturbed.
Related state of the world's birds case studies
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Li Zuo Wei, D.; Mundkur, T. 2004. Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region: results of the Asian waterbird census: 1997-2001. Wetlands International, Selangor, Malaysia.
Li Zuo Wei,. D.; Mundkur, T. 2004. Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region. Results of the Asian waterbird census: 1997-2001. Wetlands International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Perennou, C. P.; Mundkur, T.; Scott, D. A. 1994. The Asian Waterfowl Census 1987-1991: distribution and status of Asian waterfowl. IWRB and AWB, Slimbridge and Kuala Lumpur.
Siddiqui, A. I.; Pandey, J.; Mandal, R. 2007. House-crow: threat to Indian Skimmer. Mistnet 8(2): 4-6.
Sundar, K.S. G. 2004. Observations on breeding Indian Skimmers Rynchops albicollis in the National Chambel Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India. Forktail 20: 89-90.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J.
Htin Hla, T.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Rynchops albicollis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/06/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/06/2015.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Vulnerable|
|Family||Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)|
|Species name author||Swainson, 1838|
|Population size||4000-6700 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||252,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|