Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Whiskered Tern

Chlidonias hybridus
The Whiskered tern is a bird with an incredible range and distribution. Populations can be found on four different continents! They are migratory, and live in different location based upon the season. In the far east of their range, for example, they often breed in Indonesia and spend the rest of their time in areas further south around Australia. Whiskered Terns can migrate as far as 5,000 miles one way!

Whiskered terns can be easily identified in their breeding plumage. They have a black cap, white cheeks, and a brilliant red beak and legs. During the rest of the year the color contrast is less stark, and the bill and feet are black.

They prefer to live near water, and feed on aquatic animals. Crustaceans, Amphibians, and Fish make up large portions of their diet, and they typically forage together in large groups. But that is not their only group activity! When threatened, an entire colony of Whiskered Terns will turn on and mob their attacker. Other foraging species like to nest near the Terns for the added protection.

Due to their massive distribution Whiskered Terns are not a currently threatened species.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia
Size : Body Length up to 9.5in (25cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Charadriiformes
Family : Sternidae -- Genus : Chlidonias -- Species : C. hybridus

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