Rynchops albicollis   Swainson,  1838 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: pbase

Size: 40 cm.

Voice: A nasal kap, kap.

Habits: Generally solitary, feeds in small flocks, roosts communally, hunts actively during moonlit nights, and gracefully skims over undisturbed waters ploughing with lower mandible held at oblique angle.

Adult: Sexes alike, but female slightly smaller. A large tern-like bird with contrasting pied plumage. Bill orange-red, yellow at tip and orange at base, with much longer lower mandible, forehead, neck-collar and wing-bar white, upperparts blackish-brown, underparts glistening white, legs and feet red. At rest, wings project far beyond the slightly forked tail. Juvenile: Forehead streaked with brown, upperparts lighter brown, scalloped with fulvous white, tail-feather brown-tipped.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Indian Skimmer (English)
• Panchira (Hindi)
• Panchira (Marathi)
• Jal-hal (Gujrati)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Natural threats, Anthropogenic
(Disturbance and prescution : Use of watercourses for fishing, transportation and domestic purposes. Flooding of riversin the breeding season, for whatever reason (early snow-melt or heavy rainfall), destroys nests in colonies on low sandbanks.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Sandy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous, comprising small fish.
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Goa, Chapora river INDIA (Record: 05/09/1996)
• Goa, Anjuna INDIA (Record: 28/09/1998)
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• Orissa, Dhamra Port INDIA
• Delhi, Okhla barrage bird sanctuary INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Animal Photo Album Available at - http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/
  • Chadha, S and Sekar, KC (1999) Bhitarkanika:myth and reality Nataraj publishers, Dehra Dun Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Dutta, SK (2007) Biodiversity assessment of Dhamra port site and surrounding areas, Orissa Greenpeace India 4-38 Available at - http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/india/press/reports/greenpeace-biodiversity.pdf
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%203%20(1).pdf
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%206%20(1).pdf
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%208%20(1).pdf
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at - http://www.itis.gov.
  • Urfi AJ (2003) The birds of Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, Delhi, India Forktail 19 39-50pp Available at - http://www.orientalbirdclub.org/publications/forktail/19pdfs/Urfi-Okhla.pdf
  • Nayak, A.K. (2006) Status of migratory shorebirds at Bhitarkanika and Chilika wetlands on the east coast of India Waterbirds around the world. Eds. G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D.A. Stroud The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK 305-307pp Available at - http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/PDF/pub07_waterbirds_part3.5.16.pdf
  • Gopi GV and Pandav B (2007) Avifauna of Bhitarkanika Mangroves, India Zoo's print journal 22(10) 2839-2847pp Available at - http://www.zoosprint.org/ZooPrintJournal/2007/October/2839-2847.pdf
  • PBase Available at - http://www.pbase.com/

Page last updated on:2013-01-30

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