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Tern, Lesser-crested

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Tern, Lesser-crested

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:45 pm

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When we see lesser crested terns here in South Africa it is normally outside of their breeding season when it has a patch of white on the forehead and crown and the downward-curving bill is orange-yellow. Lesser crested terns (Sterna bengalensis) have black legs and feet are with yellow webs. They are most often encountered along the KZN coast but a few individuals have ventured as far south as False Bay, WC.

They forage at high tide in mid-morning or late afternoon, no further than six kilometres from the coast. They feed mainly on fish, but supplement their diet by squid and crustaceans. It hunts alone or in mixed-species flocks of up to 400 birds, catching its prey by dipping the bill into the water whilst in flight, or by plunge-diving and submerging the whole body after a short hover in the air.

During a pelagic trip that went "rough" off Durban in December last year, we were "forced" by the quirks of Ma Nature to bird the harbour. We found these LCT on a cement block near the end of our return trip. The LCTs had grey-headed gulls and a Swift tern for company.
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Elsa
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Re: Tern, Lesser-crested

Unread postby Elsa » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:50 am

Very nice sighting and pic Johan! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Tern, Lesser-crested

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:31 am

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