The Indian Skimmer Count

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in association with Bird Count India (BCI) announces the first coordinated global Indian Skimmer Count. This is an initiative to fill the knowledge gap about the Indian Skimmer population. This count will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will be conducted on 19th – 20th December 2020, and the second phase in January 2021. Participants are encouraged to visit any of the short-listed sites or other potential sites of their choice where Indian Skimmers are likely to be recorded on the count dates.


  • Visit any of the short-listed sites from here or any other sites of your choosing either 19th December,  20th December or both
  • Count the total number of Indian Skimmers at the selected site and upload it through the eBird mobile app. Please see this PDF that provides step by step procedure to upload your skimmer counts using the eBird Mobile app. Here is a help document that shows how to count skimmers.
  • If possible, undertake a careful count of Juvenile, Immature, and Adults. See here, for understanding age classification. To learn about how to edit and add additional information to your checklists, see here
  • See here to know how to add photos, call recordings to your eBird checklist.
  • We encourage participants to contribute their observations/data through the eBird platform. However, participants can also use google forms OR MS word fill-in datasheet to contribute their observations. Email the MS word filled datasheet to Details on how to use the data-sheet can be seen here.
  • If you are not comfortable using the app, then upload your sightings through and also share your lists with the user ID- Indian Skimmer or email ID- ID. Refer to this article on how to share a checklist.


  • Along with the skimmers, we encourage you to observe and count Black-bellied Terns. This endangered species is found in similar habitats as the Indian Skimmers.
  • Counts should ideally start around 0700 hours for the inland wetlands/rivers. For the sites where the movement is tide depended, in that case, the counts could be conducted when the congregation is highest. Evening counts in good light conditions are also encouraged in case the morning hours are not suitable owing to tide time.
  • For those new to eBird, read the brief description, and go through the detailed beginner’s guide; create an account and start using eBird right away to get used to the platform.
  • Ethics and etiquette: Avoid stressing birds and be cautious around roosting, nesting, and feeding sites. Always be careful and show restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds.


  • Please submit all your counts before January 10, 2021.
  • While birding, please ensure that you adhere to COVID-19 related instructions by central and local authorities 
  • Photographs of the count, team, site, and species can be sent along with the filled data sheet with due captions to the Coordinator at
  • If you have any queries regarding the use of eBird, please email at

Header Image: Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis by Urmil Jhaveri

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