It found near large rivers in the Indian subcontinent, its range extending from Pakistan, Nepal and India to Myanmar. It has become very scarce in the eastern part of its range.
Its typical habitat is lowland rivers and marshes, and sometimes ditches and pools, at altitudes of up to about 730 m (2,400 ft). It is an entirely inland species and is not found on the coast.
It is classified as being endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.The rationale behind this is that the riverine habitats in which it breeds are under threat in much of Southeastern Asia.
The threats it faces include the degradation of the islands and sandspits on which it breeds, the collection of eggs for food, predation of eggs and chicks by dogs, cats and crows, flooding of nesting sites by the construction of river dams, competition for fish by local fishermen, entanglement in nets, disturbance, extraction of water, sand and gravel dredging and pollution.
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