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Indian Skimmer - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Alok Tewari
National Chambal Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh), M.P. Division, India, January 2013
Rynchops albicollis


38–43 cm (15-17 inches)
The Indian Skimmer which is also commonly refereed as Scissor Bill has a striking feature which is it's bill. The skimmer has the lower mandible) longer than the upper bill.

  • Large orange-red beak
  • Black cap and upperparts
  • White forehead, nape and body


Asia: found on the Indian subcontinent and Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Photo by Jugal Tiwari
Dholpur-Chambal river, Rajasthan, India, May 2009

In India it is generally confined to or near the Ganges. But there has been sighting of this bird in the year 2009 , down south in the coastal city called Chennai ( Muthaliar Kuppam ) in the state of Tamil Nadu - Southern India. This has been the first sighting of a live bird down south.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Rivers , lakes and back waters. They prefer very shallow water.

Vulnerable, due to habitat disturbance.


Feeding action
Photo by bentwing
Chambal River, India, March 2011


Their diet consists of fish, insect larvae and shrimps.


Large group (60+) : a rare sighting now
Photo by Alok Tewari
Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, December-2017
  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2015)

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