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Sandwich Tern | Sterna sandvicensis

The Sandwich 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 Sandwich Tern (Latin name Sterna sandvicensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sterna sandvicensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 326 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 455. You will find a picture of the Sandwich 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 Sandwich Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Sandwich Tern has a height of 41 cms and weighs around 230 gms. The head is coloured black, white while the bill is coloured yellow. The Sterna sandvicensis 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, white

Eyes are brown

Bill is yellow

Legs are black

Throat is white

Back is grey

Feeding Habits ...

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

The Sterna sandvicensis 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 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 ...

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

The Sandwich 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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