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Damara Tern | Sterna balaenarum

The Damara 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 Damara Tern (Latin name Sterna balaenarum) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sterna balaenarum can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 334 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 464. You will find a picture of the Damara 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 Damara Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Damara Tern is known in Afrikaans as Damarasterretjie.

The Damara Tern is near Endemic to the Southern African Region which means it is mainly found in this region but is not restricted here alone. The Sterna balaenarum can be found in other parts of the world.

The Damara Tern has a height of 23 cms and weighs around 52 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Sterna balaenarum has a brown coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

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 brown

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are yellow

Throat is brown

Back is brown

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.

This bird is a noctunal feeder and is able to forage in the dark because of the enhanced night vision. It also forages at this time because that?s when the prey comes out in the open.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Damara 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 eggs and they are coloured green.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

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

The Damara 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 ...

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

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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