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Bird name:

Caspian Tern

Hydroprogne caspia

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Terns (Sternidae)

BTO 2

CJ

BTO 5

CASTE

Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Seashore, sandy or rocky



Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial



Egg Colour:

Pink buff with brown markings.



Number of Eggs:

1 - 5



Incubation Days:

20 - 28



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Material:

Lined with shell fragments and grass.



Nest Location:

On ground.



Migration:

Migratory



General

Caspian Tern: Largest tern, stocky with pale grey upperparts and white underparts. Cap is black and may appear weakly crested; large bill is coral-red with a black tip. Undersides of primaries are grey. Tail is white, relatively short, and slightly forked; legs are black. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has dark streaked cap and white eye rings. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has grey chevrons on white back, mainly white crown, dark grey legs, tail and primaries are dark grey; has a red-orange bill with a black tip.

Range and Habitat

Caspian Tern: Breeds in scattered colonies in Eurasia, Africa, and North America. Winters in areas of Africa, India, China, Mexico, Florida, and the Caribbean. Occurs year-round in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Africa and Asia. Preferred habitats include sandy or pebbly shores of lakes and large rivers and along coasts. Rare vagrant to the UK & Ireland.

Breeding and Nesting

Caspian Tern: Pairs begin to form nest scrapes soon after they arrive at the breeding grounds. They breed in late May and early June. One to five brown marked pink buff eggs are laid in a shallow depression in sand, often lined with shell fragments and grass. Incubation ranges from 20 to 28 days and is carried out by both parents. The young begin to fly at 37 days after hatching.

Foraging and Feeding

Caspian Tern: These terns primarily eat fish such as mullet and menhaden. They occasionally consume crayfish and insects. They plunge dive or catch fish at the surface while flying above. They also steal food from other birds. Typically they fish along coasts, shorelines, inland lakes, rivers, lagoons, estuaries and sloughs; less commonly they forage on open sea., Caspian Tern: These terns primarily eat fish such as mullet and menhaden. They occasionally consume crayfish and insects. They plunge dive or catch fish at the surface while flying above. They also steal food from other birds. Typically they fish along coasts, shorelines, inland lakes, rivers, lagoons, estuaries and sloughs; less commonly they forage on open sea.

Vocalisation

Caspian Tern: Call is harsh deep "kaark" or "ka-arr."

Similar Species

Caspian Tern: Arctic and Common Terns have slimmer orange bills. and orange legs and feet.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX