Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

GBTE

Code 6

GELNIL

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Gull-billed Tern has a large range, estimated globally at 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Australia, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 79,000 to 310,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Gull-billed Tern is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Gull-billed Tern: Lightest North American tern. Black cap that extends below eyes, down nape; pale gray upperparts that are darker at the wingtips; short, stout black bill and black legs, feet; long wings with very long outer primaries. Direct flight with graceful, shallow wing beats.

 

Range and Habitat

Gull-billed Tern: During breeding season, they occur in the eastern and southern coastal United States. Also seen during the winter along the southern coastal United States. Its winter range extends to central coastal areas of South America. Breeding habitat includes sand, gravel, or shell beaches, or some grassy areas of coastal islands.

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Gull-billed Tern SONGS AND CALLS

Gull-billed Tern C2

Alarm call is a rapidly repeated "aah".

Gull-billed Tern C3

Typical call is a repeated "kayWEK".

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"kay-WEK", "ge-rek", "kay-tih-DID", "aach"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Gull-billed tern has a number of geographical races, differing mainly in size and minor plumage details.
  • They are less numerous today on the Atlantic coast than at their historical levels, prior to the millinery trade in the late 1800s. A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.
  • They don't normally plunge dive for fish like the other white terns, but feeds on insects taken in flight, and also often hunt over wet fields, to take frogs and small mammals.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

John Schwarz

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Outer primariesX
The outer primaries are the primary feathers on the wing farthest from the body. They often appear to be the longest feathers on the wing.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X