LC
African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Least Concern
2016 Near Threatened C1+2a(ii)
2012 Near Threatened C1+2a(ii)
2008 Near Threatened C1; C2a(ii)
2006 Near Threatened
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type continent
Average mass 164 g
Range

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 17,200,000 km2 medium
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 17,900,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 10000-17000 mature individuals medium estimated 2002
Population trend decreasing - suspected -
Generation length 6.3 years - - -

Population justification: There are 7,000-13,000 individuals in West and Central Africa and 8,000-12,000 in East Africa and South Africa (T. Dodman in litt. 2002 via Wetlands International 2021), giving a total of 15,000-25,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 10,000-17,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to wetland habitat degradation, over-exploitation and human disturbance.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Angola extant native yes yes
Benin extant native yes yes
Botswana extant native yes
Burkina Faso extant native yes
Burundi extant native yes yes
Cameroon extant native yes yes
Central African Republic extant native yes
Chad extant native yes yes
Congo extant native yes yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the extant native yes yes
Côte d'Ivoire extant native yes yes
Egypt extant native yes
Equatorial Guinea extant native yes
Eritrea extant vagrant yes
Ethiopia extant native yes yes
Gabon extant native yes yes
Gambia extant native yes
Ghana extant native yes yes
Guinea extant native yes yes
Israel extant vagrant
Kenya extant native yes yes
Liberia extant native yes yes
Malawi extant native yes yes
Mali extant native yes
Mauritania extant native yes
Mozambique extant native yes yes
Namibia extant native yes
Niger extant native yes
Nigeria extant native yes yes
Rwanda extant native yes yes
Senegal extant native yes yes
Sierra Leone extant native yes yes
Somalia extant vagrant yes
South Africa extinct vagrant yes
South Sudan extant native yes
Sudan extant native yes yes
Tanzania extant native yes yes
Togo extant vagrant yes yes
Uganda extant native yes yes
Yemen extant vagrant yes
Zambia extant native yes yes
Zimbabwe extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Burundi Rusizi National Park
Botswana Okavango Delta
Ethiopia Lake Turkana and Omo delta
Gabon Akanda
Gabon Ogooué delta and Mandji island
Malawi Lake Chilwa and flood-plain
Tanzania Katavi National Park
Tanzania Kilombero Valley
Tanzania Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir
Tanzania Lake Rukwa
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George
Uganda Murchison Falls National Park
Zambia Barotse Floodplains
Zambia Kafue Flats
Zambia South Luangwa National Park
Zimbabwe Middle Zambezi Valley
Congo Lake Télé Community Reserve
Zambia Simungoma
Zambia Sumbu National Park and Tondwa Game Management Area

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 1800 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Bos taurus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Competition
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Dams (size unknown) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Soil erosion, sedimentation Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Shipping lanes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Rynchops flavirostris. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/african-skimmer-rynchops-flavirostris on 03/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 03/03/2024.