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Antarctic Tern | Sterna vittata

The Antarctic 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 Antarctic Tern (Latin name Sterna vittata) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sterna vittata can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 329 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 461. You will find a picture of the Antarctic 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 Antarctic Tern between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Antarctic Tern has a height of 40 cms and weighs around 140 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured red. The Sterna vittata has a grey coloured throat, red 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 red

Throat is grey

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

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

The Antarctic 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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