Tern, Gull-billed


Name: Tern, Gull-billed

Scientific name: Gelochelidon nilotica

Type: Tern

Color: Black,Grey,White

Habitat: Coast,Ocean,Water

Size: 50cm

Conservation status:

Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor


Resembles Sandwich Tern but has shorter, thicker, gull-like all black bill and, in adult, shallower forked tail; lacks short crest of Sandwich Tern and has whitish grey rump and tail (only slightly paler than mantle, white in Sandwich); lacks contrast shown by Sandwich between dark outer and pale inner primaries above; outer primaries have distinct dark trailing edge (recalling that of Common Tern). In winter, lacks black cap but has variable black patch behind eye. Juvenile is much less spotted on scapulars and inner wing-coverts than similar Sandwich, has white crown and black eye-patch. in 1st winter head even whiter (nape mottled blackish in similar Sandwich). In flight, which is more leisurely than in Sandwich, shows shorter neck. When standing, black legs longer than those of Sandwich. In breeding season often hunts for insects over land unlike Sandwich.