Large-billed Tern

Phaetusa simplex

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

LBTE

Code 6

PHASIM

ITIS

Egg Color:

Pale gray to olive brown with brown blotches



Number of Eggs:

2



Incubation Days:

27 - 30



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

hidden in grasses and weeds.



Nest Material:

None



Migration:

Nonmigratory



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General

Large-billed Tern: Dark gray mantle and short dark gray tail; black cap; white breast, belly, chin, cheeks, and throat; black primaries to the bend of the wing are striking in flight; white secondaries; distinctive large yellow bill.

Range and Habitat

Large-billed Tern: South American tern commonly found in freshwater habitats, especially near lakes and rivers, sandbars, wetlands, estuaries, bays and coastline. This common South American inland tern is strictly an accidental visitor to the United States. It has been spotted in Illinois, Ohio and New Jersey.

Breeding and Nesting

Large-billed Tern: Monogamous; colonial; often in mixed colonies with other terns and skimmers. No nest material; eggs hidden in grasses and reeds; two pale gray to olive brown eggs with brown blotches. Incubation ranges from 27 to 30 days and is carried out by both sexes; young fed by both parents; first flight at 55-65 days; one brood per year.

Foraging and Feeding

Large-billed Tern: Eats fish and aquatic invertebrates; catches insects in flight; plunges into water. Frequents fresh water rivers and larger lakes, also along sea coasts.

Vocalization

Large-billed Tern: Goose-like honk; also quiet "cluck-cluck."

Similar Species

Large-billed Tern: No similar species in North America.

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
MantleX
The upper surface of the back and wings covered with shorter feathers.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X