Black Tern | Chlidonias niger

Robert's Birding Information: Black Tern

The Black 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 Black Tern (Latin name Chlidonias niger) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Chlidonias niger can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 337 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 471. You will find a picture of the Black 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 Black Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Black Tern has a height of 24 cms and weighs around 60 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Chlidonias niger has a white coloured throat, red legs and a black, brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Chlidonias niger 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 black.

Legs are red.

Throat is white.

Back is black, brown.

Black Tern Feeding Habits ...

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.

Black Tern Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

You can see the Black Tern bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

The Black Tern is a very rare bird that can only be seen out at sea following fish vessels. It can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black Tern is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.