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About the Indian Skimmer


The endangered Indian Skimmer was recently spotted along the Ghaghra River at Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Indian Skimmer
  2. About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

Indian Skimmer

Family and Scientific Name

  • Belongs to the family Rynchopidae.
  • Scientific Name: Rynchops albicollis.

Feeding Behavior and Nickname

  • Feeds by flying close to the water surface and skimming for fish.
  • Commonly known as the Indian scissors-bill.


  • Primarily found in larger sandy lowland rivers, lakes, adjacent marshes, and estuaries and coasts during the non-breeding season.


  • Originally distributed in North Indian rivers, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
  • Currently, the majority of the population is restricted to North Indian River systems and Pakistan.
  • Approximately 20% of the total population nests along the Chambal River.

Physical Characteristics

  • Measures 40 to 43 cm in length with a wingspan of 110 cm.
  • White plumage on the underside, black on the upper side.
  • White forehead and collar, black crown.
  • Short, forked tail with central black feathers.
  • Long and thick bill, bright orange with a yellow tip.


  • Consumes small fish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and insect larvae.

Conservation Status

  • Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve


  • Located on the Indo-Nepal border in the district of Lakhimpur-Kheri in Uttar Pradesh.


  • Includes the Dudhwa National Park and two nearby Sanctuaries: Kishanpur and Katerniaghat.
  • Encompasses forest areas of North Kheri, South Kheri, and Shahjahanpur forest divisions in its buffer.


  • The Sharda River flows by the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Geruwa River flows through the Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Suheli and Mohana streams flow in the Dudhwa National Park, all of which are tributaries of the Ghagra River.


  • Features North Indian Moist Deciduous vegetation.
  • Contains some of the finest examples of Sal forests (Shorea robusta) in India.


  • Predominantly consists of Sal forest along with associate tree species like Terminalia alata (Asna), Lagerstroemia parviflora (Asidha), Adina cordifolia (Haldu), Mitragyna parviflora (Faldu), Gmelina arborea (Gahmhar), Holoptelea intgrifolia (Kanju), and more.


  • Major mammal species include Tiger, Fishing cat, Monkey, Langur, Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, Jackal, and others.
  • Rich avian diversity with both migratory and resident species like Dabchick, Spot-billed Pelican, Large Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Grey Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, White Ibis, and more.
  • Diverse reptile population, including Mugger and Ghariyal (crocodiles), Python, Sandboa, Banded Krait, Russell’s Viper, Rat Snake, among others.

-Source: Indian Express

July 2024