White Tern

Gygis alba

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

WHTT

Code 6

GYGALB

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White Tern has a large range, estimated globally to be between one million and ten million square kilometers. It is commonly found in North America, Asia, Australia, South America, and nearby island nations. This bird prefers ecological systems that are marine in nature including neritic, coastal, and supratidal habitats. The population of the bird is estimated to be between 160,000 and 1,100,000 birds globally. The White Tern does not currently meet the criteria for the IUCN Red List and has an evaluation level of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White Tern: This medium-sized tern is snow white overall. It has dark eyes and black eyerings which makes it appear to have large eyes. The wings and tail may appear translucent when overhead. It has a notched tail, a black bill with a dark blue base, and blue-gray legs and feet. Feeds primarily on juvenile or smaller fish. Swerves, swoops, and soars. Sexes are similar. AKA Common Fairy Tern.

 

Range and Habitat

White Tern: Inhabits islands in the tropical and subtropical waters of the south Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and western and central Pacific. Breeds on small islands made of coral with some degree of vegetation, where it nests and roosts in trees of dense forest with thin branches, but also on rocky ledges and on man-made structures.

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SONGS AND CALLS

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APPLE PHONE OR TABLET

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iBird Pro Guide to Birds of North America

ANDROID PHONE OR TABLET

iBird Pro Guide to Birds of North America


Voice Text

"eenk-eenk-eenk", "grrich-grrich-grrich"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White Tern was first described in 1786 by Anders Erikson Sparrman, a Swedish naturalist.
  • It is also known as the Common Fairy-Tern and White Noddy.
  • It often lays its egg in the fork of a tree with no nest to support it.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

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

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Crystal Adams

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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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