White-winged Tern | Chlidonias leucopterus

Robert's Birding Information: Whitewinged Tern

The White-winged 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 White-winged Tern (Latin name Chlidonias leucopterus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Chlidonias leucopterus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 339 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 469. You will find a picture of the White-winged 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 White-winged Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The White-winged Tern is known in Afrikaans as Witvlerksterretjie.

The White-winged Tern has a height of 21 cms and weighs around 60 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured red. The Chlidonias leucopterus has a black coloured throat, red legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Chlidonias leucopterus 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 brown.

Bill is red.

Legs are red.

Throat is black.

Back is black.

Whitewinged Tern Feeding Habits ...

The Chlidonias leucopterus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

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

White Winged Tern Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

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

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.