Ian’s Bird of the Week – Grey Ternlet (Noddy)

Bird of the Week – Grey Ternlet ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/10/12
Last week we had the (Common) White Tern or White Noddy. Here is its counterpart the Grey Ternlet, often called the Grey Noddy. It is also an island species but is restricted in range to the Western and South Pacific. In the Australian regions it, like the White Tern, occurs on both Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Unlike the White Tern, it nests mainly on inaccessible rock cliffs and I had had only distant views of it on Lord Howe 20 years ago. The situation was similar on Norfolk Island, and the first photo, taken at Captain Cook’s Lookout, was our first view of any. This photo, I might add, was taken with a 500mm telephoto lens, so we were nowhere near them.
Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 1

Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 1

So we hoped that our planned boat trip to nearby Phillip Island would provide better views and photo opportunities. It was late in the nesting season, though, and when we returned to the rocky cove to be picked up by the boat, we still hadn’t seen any, even in the distance. Getting on and off the boat was an interesting exercise as there is no wharf, just a north-facing cove, sheltered in southerly winds and swell, with a slippery rock shelf, best negotiated in stockinged feet for better traction, second photo (that’s Norfolk Island in the background).
Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 2

Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 2

We were just getting ready to board the approaching boat, when two Grey Ternlets landed on a rocky cliff nearby, and the boat was forgotten while I dug the camera out of my backpack. The two birds were an adult and a juvenile, the adult standing over the juvenile, which has dark markings on the head, in the third photo.
Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 3

Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 3

I moved closer to them, but the adult flew off, leaving the youngster to its fate, fourth photo.
Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 4

Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 4

The adult had landed almost out of sight behind a rocky outcrop, but I got a photo of it when it took off a little later, fifth photo.
Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 5

Grey Noddy (Procelsterna albivitta) by Ian 5

Anyway, it was time to leave the Ternlets to their own devices and get on the boat. We were to see more Grey Ternlets on the cliffs of Norfolk Island, including a flock of about 15, but we never got close to them again. It was a great ending to a very successful trip to Phillip Island and we didn’t mind too much getting rather wet from the spray on the way back to Norfolk Island, the cameras being safety stowed in a dry spot.
Best wishes
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Check the latest website updates:

Lee’s Addition:

What scenery and what a beautiful Noddy. These Noddies or Ternlets like to nest on protected cliffs it appears.

The place where you live is safe. Your nest is on a high cliff. (Numbers 24:21a NIrV)

The Grey Noddy or Grey Ternlet (Procelsterna albivitta) is a seabird belonging to the tern family Laridae. It was once regarded as a pale morph of the Blue Noddy (Procelsterna cerulea) but is now often considered to be a separate species. It occurs in subtropical and warm temperate waters of the south Pacific Ocean.

It is 25–30 cm (9.8–12 in) long with a wingspan of 46–61 cm (18–24 in) and a weight of about 75 grams (2.6 oz). The tail is fairly long and notched. The plumage is pale grey, almost white on the head and underparts but darker on the back, tail and wings. The wings have dark tips and a white hind edge and are mainly white underneath. The eye is black and appears large due to the black patch in front of it. There is a white patch behind the eye. The thin, pointed bill is black and the legs and feet are also black apart from pale yellow webs.

It feeds in shallow water, not moving far from the breeding colonies. It gathers in large feeding flocks which can contain thousands of individuals. They feed by hovering over the water and dropping down to pick food from the surface. Plankton forms the bulk of the diet and small fish are also eaten.

Breeding takes place in colonies on rocky islands. The nest site is a sheltered rocky surface or underneath a boulder or clump of vegetation. A single egg is laid. Juvenile birds are browner than the adults and have darker, more contrasting flight feathers.

The Grey Noddy is usually silent but has a soft, purring call.

(The verse is out of context, but the nest on the cliff fit with these birds. Wikipedia cited.)

See Also:

Bird of the Week – by Ian

Birdway’s Laridae Family

Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Grey Noddy – Wikipedia


Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; (Leviticus 11:16 NKJV)

The Sea Gull has been upgraded to an official Bird of the Bible here on this blog. The article “Birds of the Bible – A Gull?” was written when I first discovered the Gull in my reading, per article. The Gull now has it’s own Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls page and it shows up in the sidebar along with the others birds mentioned in the Scriptures.

After updating my E-sword program and loading every English Bible Translation they have available, (for free and a few paid ones) I have been comparing the Leviticus 11:13-19 and the Deuteronomy 14:12-18 sections with a spreadsheet. That is the list of unclean birds that the Israelites were told not to eat. (Just because the different versions are being compared does not mean that this writer is in agreement with all of them or their stand.)

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Here is an analysis of words used in those verses for the Sea Gull:
(Mouse over initials for full name of translation)

Leviticus 11:15 or 16:

gull – ABP+, MKJV
sea-gull or sea gull – DARBY, ESV, NAS77, NASB, NKJB
sea gulls – ERV, GW
seamew – ASV
sea-mew – BRENTON, JPS
sea meaw – RV
sea-hawk – BBE
larus – DRB
Different bird used –
(cuckow) – KJV & WEBSTER ,
(cuckoo) – YLT

Deuteronomy 14:15:

The word was use the same in both verses except in these translations:
LITV used – “gull” in Lev. and “sea gull” in Deut.
MKJV used – “gull” in Lev. and “cuckoo” in Deut.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Why bother in the first place to compare them, you ask? I still find it amazing how different translations vary in their description of the birds. The differences do not affect the doctrines of the Word of God, nor will they affect my faith in the Lord. So far, none of the differences have affected my appetite to eat any of the birds listed. Whether they are Sea Gulls or a Cuckoos, they still won’t end up on my dinner plate.

What it does do though is to give good reason to make the Gull a Bird of the Bible and give them their own page.

And the ostrich, and the owl, and the larus, and the hawk according to its kind: (Deuteronomy 14:15 DRB)
and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kind, (Deuteronomy 14:15 ASV)

One of the words used was “larus” which happens to be one of the Genus of Gulls and contains a Mew Gull which sounds similar to a “sea mew or seameaw”. Interesting.  Also the Laridae is the Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Family name.

The Larus Genus includes:
Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)
Belcher’s Gull (Larus belcheri)
Olrog’s Gull (Larus atlanticus)
Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)
Heermann’s Gull (Larus heermanni)
Mew Gull (Larus canus)
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
California Gull (Larus californicus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)
Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)
Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus)
Vega Gull (Larus vegae)
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)
Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)

The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. (Psalms 77:18-19 KJV)

European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) by Keith Blomerley – An adult on the sea trying to steal food from a Common Eider


Birds of the Bible – A Gull?

Common Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

Common Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

The following two verses have been used several times in the Birds of the Bible articles. It is interesting in how one of the birds is translated in the various versions.

the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, (Leviticus 11:16 ESV)
the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind; (Deuteronomy 14:15 ESV)

I have been reading through the English Standard Version and found the “sea gull” listed in those verses. Those verses are in the list of the birds the Israelites were not to eat. Previously, I had used the KJV which translates  “שׁחף” as “the cuckoo: Shachpaph, probably the sea-gull or mew”(H7828).

See Birds of the Bible – Cuckoo and Cuckoo II where the Cuckoo is considered as the bird mentioned. But, what if it is one of the other options? Those options would be the sea-hawk, seamew, seagull or gull. Only one mentions the sea-hawk, so for now that will be ignored until another time.

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Ian

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Ian

A Seamew according to Wikipedia is the Common Gull (European and Asian subspecies; see below) or Mew Gull (North American subspecies) Larus canus which is a medium-sized gull which breeds in northern Asia, northern Europe and northwestern North America. It migrates further south in winter. Its name does not indicate that it is an abundant species, but that during the winter it feeds on common land, short pasture used for grazing.

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Daves BirdingPix

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Daves BirdingPix

Adults are 15.7-18.1 in (40-46 cm) long, obviously smaller than the Herring Gull, and slightly smaller than the Ring-billed Gull, also differing from this in its shorter, more tapered bill with a more greenish shade of yellow, as well as being unmarked during the breeding season. The body is grey above and white below. The legs are greenish-yellow. In winter, the head is streaked grey, and the bill often has a poorly-defined blackish band near the tip (sometimes sufficiently obvious to cause confusion with Ring-billed Gull). They have black wingtips with large white “mirrors”. Young birds have scaly black-brown upperparts and a neat wing pattern, and grey legs. They take two to three years to reach maturity. The call is a high-pitched “laughing” cry.

Mew Gull (Larus canus) chicks ©USFWS

Mew Gull (Larus canus) chicks ©USFWS

Both Common and Mew Gulls breed colonially near water or in marshes, making a lined nest on the ground or in a small tree; colony size varies from 2 to 320 or even more pairs. Usually three eggs are laid (sometimes just one or two); they hatch after 24–26 days, with the chicks fledging after a further 30–35 days. Like most gulls, they are omnivores and will scavenge as well as hunt small prey. The global population is estimated to be about one million pairs; they are most numerous in Europe, with over half (possibly as much as 80-90%) of the world population. By contrast, the Alaskan population is only about 10,000 pairs.

Some of the commentaries have this to say about the bird:
Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown – “the cuckoo — Evidently some other bird is meant by the original term, from its being ranged among rapacious birds. Dr. Shaw thinks it is the safsaf; but that, being a graminivorous and gregarious bird, is equally objectionable. Others think that the sea mew, or some of the small sea fowl, is intended.”
K & D – “slender gull
Barnes – “Lev_11:16 – And the owl … – Rather, “and the ostrich, and the owl, and the gull, and the hawk,” etc.
John Gill’s – “and the cuckoo; a bird well known by its voice at least: some have thought it to be the same with the hawk, changing its figure and voice; but this has been refuted by naturalists (a): but though it is here forbidden to be eaten, yet its young, when fat, are said to be of a grateful savour by Aristotle: and Pliny (b) says, no bird is to be compared to it for the sweetness of its flesh, though perhaps it may not be here intended: the word is by the Septuagint rendered asea gull”, and so it is by Ainsworth, and which is approved of by Bochart (c):”

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee

Will the mystery be solved? Not by me. I still find it amazing that the different versions use the different meaning for words, but then again, that is just like today. Our language is constantly changing the definitions of words or making other things mean the same.

Just keeping up with the names of birds today is a challenge. Every 3-4 months the I.O.C. make changes. Names of birds come and go. One bird can have many names and the different countries name them different. That is the reason they use the scientific names so they can talk about the same bird. Problem to that is that they even change the scientific name occasionally. The birds mentioned in Scripture were named in those verses several thousand years ago.

One thing is certain, there is one thing that remains the same:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 ASV)
Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages; (Hebrews 13:8 YLT)


Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls


The Black Skimmer – The Graceful Flier…

The Black Skimmer – The Graceful Flier… ~ by a j mithra

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by J Fenton

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by J Fenton

The Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger, is a tern-like seabird, one of three very similar birds species in the skimmer family. It breeds in North and South America.

Northern populations winter in the warmer waters of the Caribbean and the tropical and subtropical Pacific coasts, but the South American races make only shorter movements in response to annual floods which extend their feeding areas in the river shallows.

The Black Skimmer breeds in loose groups and its referred habitats include sandy or gravelly bars and beaches, shallow bays, estuaries, and salt marsh pools. The remarkable bill of the Black Skimmer sets it apart from all other American birds.

The Black Skimmer is the only American representative of the skimmer family. The other two, rather similar, species are the African Skimmer and the Indian Skimmer (by Nikhil). All use the same unusual feeding method.

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by Quy Tran

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by Quy Tran

The Black Skimmer is the only bird species in the United States that has a larger lower mandible than upper mandible. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies along, hoping to catch small fish. At hatching, the two mandibles are equal in length, but by fledging at four weeks, the lower mandible is already nearly 1 cm longer than the upper. Its use of touch to catch fish lets it be successful in low light or darkness.

Do you feel that your looks are not as good as the others? Do you feel that God could have created you a bit taller or fairer?

  • God has never done a mistake, but still, we had crucified Him…
  • If Joseph had not landed into the prison, he would not have become The Prime Minister of Egypt…
  • If Naaman had not suffered from leprosy, He would not have known the real God…
  • If Zachcheaus had benn born tall, He too wouldn’t have know God…
  • God has a purpose in the way He had created us…

If these birds had equal mandible, they would’ve perished, for they would not have known how to fish…

You are unique and God did not create any one like you and He is faithful to finish the work He had started in you…

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by AestheticPhotos

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by AestheticPhotos

Skimmers have a light graceful flight, with steady beats of their long wings. They feed usually in large flocks, flying low over the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water (in order of importance) for small fish, insects, crustaceans and molluscs caught by touch by day or especially at night. They spend much time loafing gregariously on sandbars in the rivers, coasts and lagoons they frequent. Although the Black Skimmer is active throughout the day, it is largely crepuscular (active in the dawn and dusk) and even nocturnal….

These birds seem to know that fish come to the surface of the water in large numbers during night…

That is the reason, they leave alone their younger ones at night, and forage during the night, flying low, skimming the water with their lower mandibles..

It is good to start the day reading the word of God.. But, how many of us read the Bible before going to bed? Do we carry the lamp during the day, or during the night? When darkness surrounds you and you have lost your way. Just read the Bible..

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Do you know that night prayers are more powerful? That is the reason God asks us to watch and pray…

Jesus Himself had set an example of praying all through the night before He chose His twelve disciples….

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; (Luke 6:12,13)

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by Ian

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) by Ian

Are you in the midst of decision making, which you think may change your life? Just do what Jesus did…

Pray all night, without ceasing…

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree

Lee’s Addition:

The Skimmers are in the Laridae Family of Gulls, Terns & Skimmers. They are part of the Charadriiformes Order.

When you watch skimmers, it is neat to watch the trail or path they leave in the water. That brings to mind several passages about paths:

Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; (Isaiah 43:16 KJV)
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalms 16:11 KJV)
Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. (Psalms 27:11 KJV)
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. (Psalms 119:35 KJV)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. (Proverbs 4:14 KJV)
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (Proverbs 4:26 KJV)

Keith made a video of a Black Skimmer flying about and dipping its beak. Its head pulls downward as it grabs a fish.


Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-winged (Black) Tern

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) by Ian

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) by Ian

Newsletter – 4/25/2010

The weather is improving here, so I went birding a couple of times last week. The first time I went to Hodel Road, Giru, just south of Townsville, which goes through an area of marshy coastal grassland that can turn up interesting birds. At this time of the year, it can be good for White-winged (Black) Terns starting the migration back to the northern hemisphere and some, like the one in the first photo, may be in the unmistakable breeding plumage, with black bodies and pale wings. I’ve bracketed (Black) as this qualifier is usually added in Australia, while Birdlife International calls it just ‘White-winged Tern’.

More usually in Australia, we see White-winged Black Terns in non-breeding plumage – like the one in the second photo – and care needs to be taken to distinguish them from the related, slightly larger, Whiskered Tern in the same plumage. Perhaps the best field mark is the shape of the black band on the head. In the White-winged Tern it forms a vertical hoop over the crown of the head; in the Whiskered Tern it forms a horizontal hoop around the nape and the crown is whitish. There are also differences in the patterns of the upper wing. In the White-winged the dark leading edge (visible in the second photo) and the whitish rump gives the bird a patchier appearance than that of the more homogeneous Whiskered.

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) by Ian

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) by Ian

Some points that may be of interested to bird photographers relate to birds in flight coming towards the camera and to backgrounds. Telephoto lenses have very a shallow field of view, particularly at the high shutter speed/large aperture combination necessary to freeze the motion of the bird. This means that even if the auto-focus has operated correctly, the bird may have moved out of focus during the lag while the photo is taken. Some cameras have an autofocus option to compensate for constant movement, called ‘AI-Servo’ on Canon SLRs, and this is the occasion to use it.

The problem with backgrounds is that the autofocus may miss the bird and grab the background instead. Birds against the sky are easier than against the ground – unless there are clouds with high contrast. Practicing tracking birds in flight is the solution here, and I use a single focus point in the centre of the viewfinder. This gives much more control over auto-focusing and not only with birds in flight but also in spatially complex shots such as a bird in a tree with branches around it.

On the website, I’ve been experimenting with changes to the layout of bird photos. The changes involve technical aspects such as getting rid of frames, but the advantages from a user’s point of view include being able to bookmark individual photos (rather than just species), and scroll bars to prevent thumbnails extending way below the window. If you’re interested, have a look at http://www.birdway.com.au/otididae/australian_bustard/source/australian_bustard_99577.htm – I’d welcome your feedback.

The other birding outing last week was to get photos of nesting Chowchillas at Paluma (this gallery uses the new layout and has 600px-wide images instead of 500)

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +61-7 4751 3115      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

The White-winged (Black) Tern is in the Laridae Family of the Charadriiformes Order. There are 102 members of the family. Only 39 of those are Terns, the rest are Gulls, Noddy, Skimmers, and Kittiwakes. They are small terns generally found in or near bodies of fresh water across from Southeastern Europe east to Australia.

Their behavior like the other “marsh” terns (Chlidonias), and unlike the “white” (Sterna) terns, these birds do not dive for fish, but fly slowly over the water to surface-pick items on the surface and catch insects in flight. They mainly eat insects and small fish. In flight, the build appears thick-set. The wing-beats are shallow and leisurely.

Their breeding habitat is freshwater marshes across from southeast Europe to central Asia. They usually nest either on floating vegetation in a marsh or on the ground very close to water, laying 2-4 eggs in a nest built of small reed stems and other vegetation. In winter, they migrate to Africa, southern Asia and Australia. It is a scarce vagrant in North America, mainly on the Atlantic coast, but a few records on the Pacific coast and inland in the Great Lakes area.

The White-winged (Black) Tern is another of the neatly created birds which shows the Handiwork of God.

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:20 NKJV)

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Little Tern

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Newsletter: 2-7-2010

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

The Little Tern is one of two tiny species of Tern found in Australia, the other being the very similar Fairy Tern. In breeding plumage, as in the first photo, the Little Tern is distinguished by having black lores forming a line through the eyes connecting the black cap to the yellow bill and it the bill usually has a black tip. Both species are of a similar size with a length of 20-28cm/8-11in. This bird was photographed in Queensland in October and would have been a member of the local breeding population.

In non-breeding plumage, as in the second photo, both species have white lores but the Little Tern has black primaries and a black bill while the Fairy Tern has grey primaries and a black-tipped bill with a yellowish base. This bird was photographed in New South Wales in January, so it is probably a member of the Asian breeding population that spends the northern winter in Australia. This bird is fishing by hovering in a characteristic posture with the tail bent sharply downwards.

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

The third photo was taken two seconds after the second photo, and the bird is taking flight again after an unsuccessful dive. An average Little Tern weights only about 50g./2oz. so it must have hit the water with tremendous impact. It is fishing, as is typical, in shallow water – the whitish reflection in the background is the surf breaking farther out.

The Little Tern has a widespread distribution through Eurasian, Africa and Australasia. In Australia it occurs in northern, eastern and southern coastal areas from Broome to the Yorke Peninsula and in Tasmania. In contrast, the Fairy Tern occurs mainly in western and southern areas of Australia, but the ranges do overlap in Victoria, South Australia and northern Western Australia.

Recent additions to the website include photos of:
Australasian Darter
Chestnut Teal
Rufous Night-Heron
Dusky Woodswallows
Glossy, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibises

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. (Matthew 13:1 NKJV)

The Little Tern is in the Laridae Family of the  Charadriiformes Order. This family, Laridae, not only has Terns, but also Noddys, Skimmers, Gulls, and Kittwakes. There are 102 birds in the family. As far a birdwatching goes, that family gives me more fits on trying to ID them. But as small as those Little Terns and the Fairy Terns, I might be able to ID them. But it is a long way to go to see if I could. Good thing Ian is down there to take their photos so we can enjoy them up here.

“This bird breeds on the coasts and inland waterways of temperate and tropical Europe and Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in the subtropical and tropical oceans as far south as South Africa and Australia.

The Little Tern breeds in colonies on gravel or shingle coasts and islands. It lays two to four eggs on the ground. Like all white terns, it is defensive of its nest and young and will attack intruders.

Like most other white terns, the Little Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a small tern, 21-25 cm long with a 41-47 cm wingspan. It is not likely to be confused with other species, apart from Fairy Tern and Saunders’s Tern, because of its size and white forehead in breeding plumage. Its thin sharp bill is yellow with a black tip and its legs are also yellow. In winter, the forehead is more extensively white, the bill is black and the legs duller. The call is a loud and distinctive creaking noise.” (Wikipedia)

Video of a Little Tern feeding fish to its chicks at the beach by Pedro Rubio

Little Stern from World Bird Guide