Black Tern Bird – Eggs | Range | Distribution

Black tern

The black tern, scientific name Chlidonias niger is a small tern typically present in or close to inland water in Europe, Western Asia, and North America.

Black tern birds

As its identity suggests, it has predominantly darkish plumage. In some lights it will possibly seem blue within the breeding season, therefore the previous English identify “blue darr”.

The black tern genus identify is from Historic Greek khelidonios, “swallow-like”, from khelidon, “swallow”: one other previous English identify for the black tern is “carr (i.e. lake) swallow”.

The black tern species identify is from Latin niger “shining black”.

Black tern Description

Adult black tern is 25 cm (9.eight in) lengthy, with a wingspan 61 cm (24 in), and weighs 62 g (2.2 oz).

The black tern brief darkish legs and a brief, weak-looking black invoice, measuring 27 mm (1.1 in), practically so long as the pinnacle.

The bill of the black tern is lengthy, slender, and appears barely decurved.

They have a darkish gray again, with a white forewing, blackhead, neck (often suffused with gray within the grownup) and stomach, black or blackish-brown cap (which unites in the shade with the ear coverts, forming a nearly full hood), and a lightweight brownish-grey, ‘sq.’ tail.

The black tern face is white. There’s a huge darkish triangular patch in the entrance of the attention, and a broadish white-collar in juveniles.

There are greyish-brown smudges on the ides of the white breast, a downwards extension of the plumage of the upperparts.

These marks range in measurement and are usually not conspicuous. In non-breeding plumage, a lot of the black, aside from the cap, is changed by gray.

The plumage of the upperparts is drab, with pale feather-edgings. The rump is brownish-grey.

The North American race, C. n. surinamensis, is distinguishable from the European type in all plumages and is taken into account by some to be a separate species.

In-flight, the black tern structure seems slim. The wing-beats are full and dynamic, and the flight is usually erratic because it dives to the floor for meals; much like different tern species.

Its name has been described as a high-pitched “kik”; the sound of a giant flock has been referred to as “deafening”.

Hybridization with white-winged black tern

Hybridization between black tern species and white-winged black tern has been recorded from Sweden[5] and the Netherlands.

Two juvenile birds at Chew Valley Lake, England, in September 1978 and September 1981, have been additionally believed to be hybrids.

They confirmed combined characters of the 2 species, particularly a mix of a darkish mantle (a characteristic of white-winged black) with darkish patches on the breast-side (a characteristic of black tern, not proven by white-winged black).

Distribution and habitat

Their breeding habitat is freshwater marshes throughout most of Canada, the northern United States, and far from Europe and western Asia.

The black tern often nests both on floating materials in a marsh or on the bottom very near water, laying 2–four eggs.

In England, the black tern was considerable within the eastern fens, particularly in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, till the early nineteenth century.

The English naturalist Thomas Pennant in 1769 referred to “huge flocks” of black terns “whose calls are nearly deafening.”

Intensive drainage of its breeding grounds worn out the English inhabitants by about 1840.

Intermittent makes an attempt by the black tern to recolonize England have proved unsuccessful, with solely a handful of English breeding data, and one in Ireland, within the second half of the 20th century.

North American black terns migrate to the coasts of northern South America, some to the open ocean. Outdated World birds winter in Africa.

Not like the “white” Sterna terns, these birds don’t dive for fish, however, forage on the wing selecting up objects at or close to the water’s floor or catching bugs in flight. The black tern primarily eats bugs and fish in addition to amphibians.


The American race of the black tern has occurred as a vagrant in Britain and in Eire.

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The North American black tern population has declined in the latest instances because of a lack of habitat.

The black tern is among the species to which the Settlement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Black tern


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