Thursday, July 22, 2004

Lesser Crested Tern breeding in Italy

Example
It breeds in subtropical coastal parts of the world mainly from the Red Sea across the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific, and Australia, with a significant population on the southern coast of the Mediterranean. The Australian birds are probably sedentary, but other populations are migratory, wintering south to South Africa. The Mediterranean birds move west in autumn, and are very rare vagrants to Europe, although this species has bred in pure or mixed pairs (with Sandwich Tern) in Italy, Spain and England. This is a large-medium tern, but it is the smallest of the yellow-billed crested terns. It most resembles Crested Tern. In Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, it has also been confused with Elegant Tern, both species being extreme rarities in these countries. This is a powerful tern, similar in size and general appearance to a Sandwich Tern. Its long sharp bill is orange, while its upperwings are grey and its underparts white. The summer adult has a black cap, and black legs. There are two other yellow-billed terns within the range of this species. Royal Tern in Africa is much larger, and has a white rump and tail. Crested Tern in the Indian and Pacific Oceans is darker and has a more robust cold yellow bill.


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