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Bird Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)


Henry Arthur Readford
May 23, 2011
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Scientific Name: Gelochelidon nilotica

Common Name: Gull-billed Tern

Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Sternidae

Other Names: Sterna nilotica,Long-legged Tern

Distribution: every continent except Antarctica. Movements are not fully understood but it is common and widespread in south-eastern Australia, and only a vagrant in Tasmania.

Habitat: found in freshwater swamps, brackish and salt lakes, beaches and estuarine mudflats, floodwaters, sewage farms, irrigated croplands and grasslands. They are only rarely found over the ocean.

Field Notes: entirely white, except for a black crown from bill to nape, a grey back and upper wings and darker flight feathers. The iris is dark brown, bill and legs black. The sexes are similar. In non-breeding plumage, the head is mainly white, the crown streaked brownish-grey and the ear coverts are dull black. Immature birds are similar to non-breeding adults. Juveniles are similar to immature birds, but the shoulders are mottled grey and brown. The common name relates to the thicker, shorter bill of this tern, closer in shape to that of a gull.
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