Gull-billed Tern | Sterna nilotica
The Gull-billed 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 Gull-billed Tern (Latin name Sterna nilotica) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sterna nilotica can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 321 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 449. You will find a picture of the Gull-billed 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. The Latin name for this bird is Gelochelidon nilotica in the Roberts 6th Edition.
The Gull-billed Tern has a height of 38 cms and weighs around 230 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Sterna nilotica has a white coloured throat, black legs and a grey 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 black
Legs are black
Throat is white
Back is grey
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 .
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
The Gull-billed Tern is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.
It is also seen in 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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