Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Indian Skimmers

Name: Indian Skimmer
Location: National Chambal Sanctuary
Date: 4th Feb.13

Different birds have different type food & different method of feeding. Some birds have unusual beak size & shape as per their feeding behavior. Like Crossbills have mandibles crossing at the tip, which is useful in in separating scales of conifer cones & eat the seeds, Spoonbills have spatulate beak useful to feed only in water, Herons & Darters have daqgger-like beak to spear & grasp fish, Pelicans have pouched beaks, used as nets for scooping up fish.

Similarly Skimmers have Lower mandible longer than upper, so that when feeding it flies low over the water with lower mandible skimming through water & when fish is encountered the lower mandible is lifted to catch the fish. Indian Skimmers largely feed at dusk and rest during the day. The breeding is in Apr-May, during courtship, male goes to catch the fish & offers it to female. Larger the fish, healthier is the male Skimmer, that's how female chooses the mate.

We observed a group of 37 Skimmers going from one end of the Chambal river & settling down for sometime before going across the river. Sometimes one or two birds will come to check & then rest of the flock. When sun is up & scorching, they will put orange beak inside the wings & rest.