The Indian skimmer or Indian scissors-bill (Rynchops albicollis) is one of the three species that belong to the skimmer genus Rynchops in the family Laridae. They are somewhat tern-like but like other skimmers, have a short upper mandible and the longer lower mandible that is ploughed along the surface of water as the bird flies over the water to pick aquatic prey. It is found in southern Asia, where it is patchily distributed and declining in numbers. They are mainly found in rivers or estuaries. They are very brightly marked in black, white and orange, making them difficult to miss.
This bird has a black cap and orange bill that contrasts with the white body. With its long wings it looks tern-like and is about 40–43 cm long with a wingspan of 108 cm. The upper parts of the body are dark black and the underparts are white. The black cap on the head leaves the forehead and nape white. The wings are long and pointed with a white trailing edge. The short, forked tail is white with blackish central feathers. The long, thick bill is orange with a yellow tip and, like the other skimmers, has a lower mandible which is longer than the upper mandible. The legs and feet are red. The lower bill is knife-like and flexible and the tip appears truncated. Young birds have bills that appear normal and with age the lower mandible grows. The upper mandible is capable of considerable mobility.
Non-breeding adults are duller and browner than breeding birds. Juveniles are grey-brown above with pale fringes to the feathers on the back and wings. The head has more white than in adult birds and the bill is orange-brown with a dark tip.
It has a high, nasal, screaming kyap-kyap call but is usually very silent.
The black skimmer of the Americas is larger with a black tip to the bill. The African skimmer is smaller with more black in the tail and no white collar. In older times the Indian skimmer was also known as the Indian scissors-bill.