Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chinese Crested Tern - Sterna bernsteini

Family/Sub-family: Laridae

The Chinese crested tern was rediscovered in 2000 with a population of just four adult pairs and four chicks
. This largish, willowy bird has a analytical black-tipped yellow bill, sometimes with a tiny white spot at the extreme tip. Breeding adults have a white head and black crested cap.
This poorly known species qualifies as Critically Endangered because it is estimated to have a tiny population which is declining owing to egg-collection, disturbance and the loss of coastal wetlands.

Physical traits:
Lower parts are seen to be white and upper parts are of pale pearl-grey, with blackish outer flight feathers, the tail of the bird is ashen and deeply forked, and the legs and feet are black. The non-breeding adult is similar, except that the crown is mottled black and white, merging into the black nape.
Chicks are a mottled brown color on upper parts, with a paler inner part of the wing lining and two dark bars on the inner wing.

The Chinese crested tern is poorly understood. The bird has been recorded in the past on the eastern coast of China, in Hebei, Shandong, Fujian and Guangdong, and outside the breeding season on Halmahera (Indonesia), in Sarawak (Malaysia) and in Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. The current total numbers are unknown but are thought to be very small given the rarity of recent records.

Breeding is thought to occur from May to July, although no definite breeding sites have ever been found.

The specific threats facing this exceptionally rare bird have not yet been identified, but a range of environmental issues are known to affect other species within its range and are therefore highly reasonable threats to this species .


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    Great surprise - Great job.

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