Whiskered Tern | Chlidonias hybrida

Robert's Birding Information: Whiskered Tern

The Whiskered Tern is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Laridae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Shrikes.

The description for the Whiskered Tern (Latin name Chlidonias hybrida) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Chlidonias hybrida can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 338 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 468. You will find a picture of the Whiskered Tern on page 432.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Whiskered Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Whiskered Tern is known in Afrikaans as Witbaardsterretjie.

The Whiskered Tern has a height of 25 cms and weighs around 100 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured red. The Chlidonias hybrida has a grey coloured throat, crimson legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Chlidonias hybrida has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is red.

Legs are crimson.

Throat is grey.

Back is grey.

Whiskered Tern Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Whiskered Tern Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Whiskered Tern is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured green.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The Whiskered Tern is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Whiskered Tern is normally seen singly, in pairs or in large flocks.