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Australian Wildlife

  Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)





Black Tern | Chlidonias niger photo
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger). The background has been digitally altered.

Image by VP Lucas - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



BLACK TERN FACTS

Description
The Black Tern is a rare vagrant to Australia. The breeding plumage has grey back, grey wings, black body. The non breeding plumage has grey back, grey wings, white neckband and grey head cap which extends down to the ears. The legs are short and bill is black. Juveniles are similar to non breeding adults but more streaked on the back. It is similar to White-winged Black Tern, but breeding adult has darker wings, and non breeding adult lacks black patch around the ears.

Other Names
Australian Songlark

Size
25 cm

Habitat
freshwater marshes

Food
insects, fish, frogs

Breeding
The nest is built on floating vegetation or on the ground near water. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs.

Range
The Black Tern found in Europe and North America is a rare vagrant to Australia with a few sightings from east coast of New South Wales.

distribution map showing range of Chlidonias niger in Australia

Map is from Atlas of Living Australia website at http://biocache.ala.org.au licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License




Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Genus:Chlidonias
Species:niger
Common Name:Black Tern

Relatives in same Genus
  Whiskered Tern (C. hybridus)
  White-winged Black Tern (C. leucopterus)