Gray-backed Tern

Onychoprion lunatus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

GBAT

Code 6

ONYLUN

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Gray-backed Tern is a medium sized seabird that occurs in the tropical Pacific ocean. It breeds on small islands with little vegetation and forages for small fish, squid, insects and other small creatures in pelagic waters over a large area. The Gray-backed Tern is believed to have a stable population that exceeds 10,000 individuals and has been given a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Gray-backed Tern: This medium-sized bird is mainly dark above and white below. It has long pointed wings and a long forked tail. It has a black cap, nape and a line through the eye to the base of the bill, white front, and white outer tail feathers. It has a black, dagger-like bill and short black legs. The diet includes tiny fish and squid. The swooping flight is graceful and buoyant.

 

Range and Habitat

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Gray-backed Tern SONGS AND CALLS

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"Eeyah! Eeyah!"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Hawaiian Airlines named a Boeing 767 "Pakalakala", which is the Hawaiian name for this bird.
  • The Gray-backed Tern often nests close to shore, making them vulnerable to storm tides.
  • Their bold, black eyeline is the reason they are also known as the Spectacled Tern.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

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

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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PelagicX
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
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