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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Crested Tern, Sterna bergii

Description

The Crested Tern is the second largest of the terns found in Tasmania (430-480mm) and one of the most commonly seen.

It has a white body, pale grey wings and back, pale yellow bill and black legs. The tail is forked.

During the breeding season, it has a black crown with a black crest which can be raised. During the non-breeding season, the cap becomes mottled. Adult males and females are identical in appearance.

The juveniles have mottled or barred brown upperparts.

The Crested Tern differs from the similar Caspian Tern - the  largest of the terns - which has a massive red bill.

Habitat

Crested Terns occur singularly or in flocks in coastal areas, estuaries, inlets, islands and occassionally on large inland lakes or rivers. They are often seen perching with gulls on beaches, sand spits or jetties.

Diet

The Crested Tern feeds mainly on small surface fish. Birds typically plunge downwards into the water to grab prey behind the head. They will also take squid, crabs, insects and other aquatic prey. 

Breeding

The breeding season runs from November to March. Crested Terns nest in colonies ranging from a few to thousands of pairs on low offshore islands, often with other terns or gulls.

The nest is a shallow scrape in the ground, or among rocks or low vegetation. Usually a single egg is laid, sometimes two. Incubation lasts for 25 to 30 days and is carried out by both sexes, and both sexes care for the young. The chick fledges after around 38 to 40 days but remains dependent on it its parents for a further three months.

Call

A "kirrick" is often heard among breeding birds.
Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania

Distribution

Crested Terns are widespread from the south coast of Africa north to Asia, south to Australia and east to Polynesia. They also occur on many islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

In Tasmania, the Crested Tern occurs mainly throughout the eastern and northern coasts and the Bass Strait islands.