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Last Update: 22 Aug 2017
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Totally PA_Black-Naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana)Totally PA_Black-Naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana)

Black-Naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana)


Family: STERNIDAEPicture

A worldwide family of graceful seabirds. Terns have short legs, long pointed wings, forked tails, and fine pointed bills. They have a buoyant flight and often hover over the water before diving to catch small fish. They congregate in large wheeling flocks wherever the fishing is good and are often found in coastal waters or even on inland lagoons and riverways. Many species are migratory, breeding in the extreme northern and southern latitudes, and only coming into the tropics in their respective winter seasons. Seven of the 16 species recorded in the Greater Sundas are resident and breed in colonies on beaches or rockpiles. The nest is typically a simple scrape in the sand or gravel.

Description: Smallish (31 cm), very white tern with very long forked tail, and distinctive black nape band and narrow bill. Upperparts pale grey; underparts white; head white except black spot in front of eye and black band over nape. Young birds have brown mottling on crown and blackish mottling on nape. Juvenile: side of head and nape greyish brown; upperparts brownish, scalloped buff and grey; rump whitish, rounded unforked tail.
Iris - brown; bill - black with yellow tip (adult), dirty yellow (juvenile); feet - black (adult) or yellow (juvenile).

Voice: Sharp tsii-chee-chi-chip or in alarm chit-chit-chitrer.

Range: Tropical islands and coasts of Indian and Pacific Oceans to N Australia.

Habits: Gregarious bird, flocking with other terns along sandy and coral beaches, rarely over mud, and never far inland. This tern species is highly endangered in Sarawak. It can be found on rocky islets off the coast of Sarawak, near islands like Pulau Tukong Ara Banun. The main threat to this species is disturbance to the rocky islets, where it makes its home.