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Swift Tern | Sterna bergii

The Swift 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 Swift Tern (Latin name Sterna bergii) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sterna bergii can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 324 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 453. You will find a picture of the Swift Tern on page 417.

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 Swift Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Swift Tern has a height of 50 cms and weighs around 395 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured red. The Sterna bergii has a white coloured throat, black 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 black

Eyes are brown

Bill is red

Legs are black

Throat is white

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

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

The Sterna bergii 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.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Swift 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 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

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 Swift Tern bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

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

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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