Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 81 - Crested Tern

The Crested Tern can be found all around the coast of Australia - and I would not be surprised if it was not the main cause of "I've just seen a funny looking seagull" comments from huge numbers of people yet to join the fellowship of birders.

The Crested Tern is a little more cooperative than many birds, often allowing people to get reasonably close to them before they take flight. These birds were all part of a breeding colony on Mud Islands in Port Phillip Bay.  As you will see, most of the chicks were well grown, although some had not yet taken to the air.

This bird goes under the scientific name of Thalasseus bergii - which means Bergius' Fisherman.  The fisherman in obvious, and Bergius is the name of the "short lived" German collector who collected the type specimen in souther Africa.

In some books this bird may still be called Sterna bergii - which means Bergius' Tern.  Recent studies of the DNA found within the mitochondria of this birds cells resulted in the bird being moved from one genus to another to which it was more closely related.  This shows a nice little rule of taxonomy, where the second part of the name follows the bird about, even if the first part changes.

These birds are about 44 - 48 cm long, with a wing span close to 1m.  Like most terns they are a delight to watch in their grey, white and black washes.


I think this is my favourite image of the many I took.  As the bird is banded there is a remote possibility that I had this bird in the hand as a chick.  Apart from the bird, I like the puff of sand  caused by its feet as it pushes in the air.

Adult, starting to move out of full breeding plumage
Adult in display posture
Well grown chick begging for food.
Well grown chick
Creche of well grown chicks
I have a real fondness for these birds - in the afternoon of the first day I arrived in Australia I took a walk along Swan Bay pier  and saw some of these birds.  This makes them a prime candidate for being on of the first birds I added to my life list in this wide brown land.

Now it's your tern (!) to add a link.  Feel free to spread WBW through what ever networks you have - the more links the merrier.

52 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

they are so cute and quirky. :) 'your tern' - bwahaha! :)

HOOTIN ANNI said...

'funny looking seagulls'...now that's a newbie to me. Never heard the expression, but no doubt quite true.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart Great shots of the Crested Tern. Lovely bird and a bit like our Sandwich Tern. I will be linking tomorrow however I did not have time to do an Australian bird this week, hopefully next Wednesday. I am glad to be back on BLOGGERLAND!
Thanks for hosting.

Andrea said...

They look like a group of Punk Rockers, love the do ... so cute, even comical. But, at the same time, quite beautiful. Your knowledge is impressive and I still appreciate how much I learn from you. Don't understand how you have time to get so smart with all of the hobbies you pursue ... fishing too? Are you sure you aren't secretly retired? Well, whatever you do, I couldn't appreciate you more.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Sylvia K said...

What beautiful birds, Stewart, and a new one to me!! I always learn something new from your posts/photos and like Andrea, I do appreciate you!! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!

Findlay Wilde said...

I really like the look of these Terns. I could never get bored watching terns and really enjoy the species of Tern we see at Cemlyn Bay in Anglesey. From Findlay

Rebecca said...

Love their crested "hair-do"! I agree with Andrea - they do look like a group of punk rockers. :)
Thanks for hosting!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

I really like the photo of the tern taking off. They are comical looking birds. Ones we don't see here.

Dave said...

a lovely species, and it wasn't a bad bird to start your Oz life list for sure...

Anni said...

ps....I like the play on words...'now it's your tern'

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful photos, Stewart. This is really pretty bird.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That image of the lift-off is a gold medal winner! But the displaying one and showing the chick stage too...all are great. Thanks for giving us your terns..and our tern too)))!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That image of the lift-off is a gold medal winner! But the displaying one and showing the chick stage too...all are great. Thanks for giving us your terns..and our tern too)))!

Sharon Wagner said...

I always love to see these terns in Florida. All facing the winds together. They are definitely photogenic.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love the picture of the tern in the display posture. Such awesome shots.

EG CameraGirl said...

Cool terns!

I look forward to the terns re"terning" to Ontario in a few weeks. ;)

Mama Zen said...

These are really beautiful shots, Stewart!

Karen said...

I do love the crests! Comical yet handsome birds. That adult in display posture is really strutting his stuff.

Andrew Fulton said...

Wonderful little terns to see Stewart... fantastic images.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

Possibly the best photo yet is the top one. Amazing photo. This is an extraordinary bird so clean and beautiful. Wonderful to think you may have banded it.

bailey-road.com said...

Love your captures of these beautiful birds.

Adam Tilt said...

Now that is a bird! Great shots Stewart and not a species I've seen before.

Gemma Wiseman said...

The display behaviour of these birds is amazing and fascinating. I haven't seen this. The chicks look like little speckled eggs on legs.

Wally Jones said...

I could watch the antics of Terns all day!

Very interesting background on the species, Stewart, and simply superb photography!

It seems the youngsters almost never outgrow that begging habit.

Just a quick admin note: what with all these comments resorting to immature puns, the blog is in danger of taking...

wait for it...

"a Tern for the worse".

Cheers!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful terns with their bad hair day kind of look.

Peter Jones said...

Wonderful collect of photos of a most beautiful tern species. Thanks for sharing!

Pat Tillett said...

These guys are pretty cute! They all have punk rocker haircuts!
It just struck me that I have a woodpecker in my post. Maybe I'll link in to this Wild Bird Wednesday.

R. Mac Wheeler said...


beautiful pictures.

eileeninmd said...

I always have enjoyed the Terns! I like their attitude! These juvies are adorable! Wonderful photos, Stewart! Thanks for hosting, enjoy the rest of your week!

thewovenspoke said...

Wonderful photos Stewart. I really like the one with the begging the most. Terns are neat.

Christian Perrin said...

I did notice the Genus get changed on all the terns a few years ago and now the same thing has happened with the gulls.

Such great photography here, especially of all the different poses these birds make! They are one of my favourites too - they sit amongst the sea gulls on every major beach in Queensland, yet most members of the public would have never noticed them.

I worked up the courage to link to WBW for the first time. Going to read through a few new blogs now, thanks for hosting! :)

Janice Adcock said...

Wonderful pictures, Stewart. Our son is doing business in your wonderful country this week.

Brian King said...

I've only seen photos of them, but I've always thought them to be quite regal looking. These are nice photos, Stewart!

Nathalie Santa Maria said...

Ces Sternes sont très très jolies !
Bravo :)

Arti said...

Beautiful captures, Stewart! Lovely pretty looking terns there!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Well, I am thinking that if I were having a very bad day and saw a Crested Tern, my whole mood would change to smiles!!!

Small City Scenes said...

I love these Terns with their little black hats. Jaunty looking.
Now it's your tern/turn to see all the other Birdies. MB

Chris Rohrer said...

Lots of lovely terns. These are an interesting variation to our various terns here.....a cross between Least, Common, and Sandwich:)

Kerri Farley said...

Oh they are lovely!!

Adam Jones said...

What a lovely Tern. I've not seen a Crested one before.

bettyl-NZ said...

These guys are just beautiful! I wish they'd come visit NZ more than one at a time.

edenhills said...

These are great captures. Cute birds. I really love that first action shot.

pattisjarrett said...

You not only have a mastery of birds, but of language, too--It's your tern. Very clever! Love those little ones!

DeniseinVA said...

Wonderful photos and information on these lovely Crested Terns Stewart. I am happy to say I have taken a photo of a bird that I have added today. Thank you so much for hosting.

Jen said...

A year ago, I would have been one of those people calling it a seagull. I'm back in the blogosphere with a new site just for the birds.

babsjeheron said...

Stewart - They are adorable birds, your photos are great, and your capture of the adult displaying is fabulous! Best, Babsje

Linda said...

Neat pictures! Love the display pose.

Irma said...

These are great photos of the terns, Stewart.
I love them all perfectly photographed.

ladyfi said...

Glorious shots. I love their punk hair-dos!

maryaustria said...

Your photos of these beautiful birds are fantastic! Gorgeous!!!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Stunning photos!

JDS said...

Great detail - especially on the action shot at the beginning!