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White Tern

A White Tern nesting on a bare tree branch on Norfolk Island

[Photographer: Thomas Rowland]

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Scientific Name: Gygis alba

Size: 25 to 31 cm

What does it look like?

The White Tern is a dainty, white tern with blue to black bill, black eye-ring and feet. 

Where is it found?

The White Tern in its various subspecies are found across the world’s tropical oceans.  

What are its habitats & habits?

The White Tern feeds on small fish which it catches by plunge diving. White Terns do not build a nest like the Black Noddy but select a depression or damaged area on the branch of a medium to tall tree, especially pines, on which to balance their one, very tapered egg. The chicks have well developed feet enabling them to hang onto their perilous position. 

Interesting facts

Despite its common name, the White Tern is more closely related to the Noddies than to terns.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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