Whiskered Tern

Chlidonias hybrida




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Gray-green with black splotches.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

18 - 21

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Nest is built on top of floating marsh vegetation.

Nest Material:

Grass and reeds.





Whiskered Tern: Small to medium-sized gray tern, black cap, and white throat, cheek, and side of neck. White vent and undertail. Gray-white underwing and flight feathers. Medium-length, pointed, red bill. Long, pointed wings with primaries tipped with black-gray. Short to medium, slightly forked tail. Short, red legs and feet. Feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and insects. Forages by catching insects in flight, picking them off the surface of the water, or diving into the water to catch fish.

Breeding and Nesting

Whiskered Tern: Three gray-green eggs with black splotches are laid in a shallow platform nest constructed with grass and reeds. The nest is built on top of floating marsh vegetation. Incubation is carried out by both sexes for 18 to 21 days. This species usually nests in large colonies.

Foraging and Feeding

Whiskered Tern: Feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and insects. Catches fish and crustaceans by hovering above water and then diving below the surface to catch prey with its bill. Catches insects by flying low over the water and snatching prey with its bill from the surface, or flying over wetlands and fields to catch insects during flight.


Whiskered Tern: Call is a "krekk".

Similar Species

Both Bridled Tern and Gray-backed Tern have white foreheads, black bills, and black legs and feet.

The area on top of the head of the bird.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X