Bridled Tern

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Bridled Tern
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Sternidae
Genus:Sterna
Species:S. anaethetus
Binomial name
Sterna anaethetus
Scopoli,, 1786

The Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. It is a bird of the tropical oceans. The Atlantic race breeds in Mexico, the Caribbean and west Africa, and other races around Arabia and in southeast Asia and Australasia.

Missing image
Bridled_tern.jpg
A bridled tern, in Lady Elliot Island off the coast of Australia

This bird is migratory and dispersive, wintering more widely through the tropical oceans. It has markedly marine habits compared to most terns. This species is a rare vagrant to western Europe.

This species breeds in colonies on rocky islands. It nests in a ground scrape or hole and lays one egg. It feeds by plunge-diving for fish in marine environments, but will also pick from the surface like the Black Tern and the Gull-billed Tern. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by the Arctic Tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a small tern, similar to the Common Tern in size, but more heavily built. The wings and deeply forked tail are long, and it has dark grey upperparts and white underparts. It has black legs and bill. Juvenile Bridled Terns are scaly grey above and pale below.

This species is unlikely to be confused with any tern apart from the similarly dark-backed Sooty Tern. It is paler-backed than that species, and has a narrower white forehead and a pale neck collar.

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