The Antarctic Tern
) is a typical tern. It ranges throughout the southern oceans. It is very similar in appearance to the closely related Arctic Tern
, but is stockier, and the wing tips are grey instead of blackish in flight. It is, of course, in breeding plumage
in the southern summer, when Arctic has moulted to its non-breeding plumage (though this is not useful for separating it from another species, the South American Tern
Breeding takes place from mid-November to early December. Chicks hatch from December to February. Skuas
and jaegers are the primary predators of this bird's eggs and young.
The total global population of this bird is around 140,000 individuals.
The Antarctic Tern is a small bird at 31-38 cm (12-15 inches) long. Its bill is usually a dark red or blackish. It is mainly pale grey and white, but has a black cap when breeding. In non-breeding plumage it has a grizzled crown and white forehead. The tips of this tern's wings are greyish black.
The plumage of juveniles is white on the belly, foreneck, forehead, and breast. The back is grey and the bill is black. Immature birds have plumage similar to adult terns.
- Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
- accessed August 25, 2006
- A accessed August 25, 2006