Sexes alike. Black markings on crown; silvery-grey-white plumage; long, narrow wings and slightly forked, almost squarish tail; short red legs and red beak
distinctive. Summer: jet-black cap and snow-white cheeks (whiskers); black belly. At rest, closed wings extend beyond tail. Large numbers fly about a marsh or tidal creek, leisurely but methodically, beak pointed down; dive from about 5m height but turn when just about to touch the ground, picking up insects in the process; also hunts flying insects over standing crops.
inland marshes, wet cultivation, coastal areas, tidal creeks.
insects, crabs, small fish, tadpoles.
breeds in Kashmir and Gangetic plain; common in winter over the area.
sharp, wild notes.