Population size, behavior and threats to Indian Skimmers (Rhynchops albicollis) at their largest known wintering site

Delip K. Das*, Naim Khandakar, Irin Sultana, Mohammad Shamsuddoha, Ashik Jahan Galib, Farhana Akhtar, Theunis Piersma

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review

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Bangladesh hosts most of what is left of Indian Skimmer (Rhynchops albicollis) populations, a globally endangered species. Each October-March from 2015-2020, 21 surveys of nonbreeding birds were made in Nijhum Dweep National Park, Bangladesh. High tide or evening roosts were counted from vantage points whenever a buildup or breakdown of skimmer concentrations was noticed, and site use noted by marking all observations of presence and activity on maps. The largest single count was 3,108 skimmers on 18 February 2020, constituting 30-50% of the known global population. Indian Skimmers mostly occurred in Damar Char West and at the tip of the Majher Char. Throughout the day with incoming tide, skimmers moved between preferred roosting areas to forage in the shallows. We describe a unique group-foraging strategy in which skimmers chase fish from deep water to shallow water along the shoreline. Circling high over the tidal channel, the flock of skimmers dives down in unison to just above the water surface, then spreading like a net towards the shore. Raptors caused disturbances to roosting skimmers, and we observed one instance of predation of a skimmer by a White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster). Human fishing activities disturbed nearshore foraging and shoreline roosting skimmers. We suggest protecting Damar Char West by regulating human activities to minimize disturbance from December to March.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)382-388
Aantal pagina's7
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 1-sep.-2021

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