• White-winged Tern

    White-winged tern ©Kenneth Lam   Common name: White-winged Tern Scientific name:  Chlidonias leucopterus Local names: Белокрылая крачка (Russian), 白翅浮鸥 (Simplified Chinese), 白翅浮鷗 (called in Hong Kong),白翅黑燕鷗(called in Taiwan) (traditional Chinese), 흰죽지제비갈매기 (Korean), ハジロクロハラアジサシ(Japanese), Dara laut sayap putih (Indonesian), Camar Bermisai (Malayu), Nhàn xám (Vietnamese), นกนางนวลแกลบดำปีกขาว(Thai). Also known as White-winged Black Tern. Conservation status: IUCN - Least Concern The White-winged Tern is a Eurasian species. Medium-sized, distinctive in breeding plumage with black head and body while white wing, rump and tail. As the species breeds inland, it adapts to various habitats from freshwater wetlands to coastal wetlands. Identification Size: 23-27 cm; wingspan 58-67 cm. Breeding plumage: Blackhead, body and scapulars Contrasting white and tail and greyish upper wing Non-breeding plumage: Black colour would fade and body become greyish on the body and upper wing Head turned white with dusky crown and ear-coverts patch Juveniles appear like non-breeding adults, but cap, wing and body feathers is blackish-brown, and upper wings are barred and ashy brown. Beak: red to black Legs: Reddish-black Distribution range Breeding range confined to Northern Hemisphere, from Central Europe to Russia reaching to Eastern China. Non-breeding range is towards the southern Hemisphere, including Africa, most of South and Southeast Asia, to New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. The tern is vagrant to Alaska and elsewhere in the USA. Habitat Breeding habitat Unlike many tern species, White-winged Tern breeds mainly inland, on freshwater lakes and swamps, rivers, and flooded grassland with areas of open water. Non-breeding habitat Non-breeding on migration or winter at various habitats from inland lakes, rivers, flood plains to coastal rocky shores, lagoons and mangrove swamps. The bird is also found feeding over wet fields, farmland and steppe grassland. White-winged Tern roosting at the east coast of Aceh, Indonesia ©Qiran Altafunnisa Behavior White-winged Tern breeds at the age of 2. They breed in small colony from 3-100 pairs, but exhibit low site fidelity. The bird may skip breeding in drought years. Being inland breeders, the bird feed mainly on aquatic insects, sometimes terrestrial insects, and occasionally small fish or tadpoles. Population estimate Global estimated population: The global population is estimated to number c.3,100,000-4,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). East Asian-Australasian Flyway population is estimated c. 100,000 – 1,000,000 individuals (WPE5). Main threats Habitat destruction Water regulation (increasing drainage schemes) degrades the habitats Other threats Pollution (including plastic pollution) Feral dogs, cats and introduced predators such as raccoons and minks. Susceptible to avian influenza Conservation Work Although it is not highlighted as a specially protected species in any country because of its Least Concern status according to IUCN, it is a species not well-studied. Protection of inland wetland systems and removal of feral and invasive predators (such as dogs, and raccoons) to these sites will benefit its survival. Fun Fact Although breeding mostly in Northern Hemisphere, there were four breeding records in New Zealand from the lower Rakaia River (1917, 3 chicks fledged), Opihi River, South Canterbury (December-February 1973-74), upper Acheron River, Marlborough (December 2012), and near Twizel (January 2015). Its genus name Chlidonias is from Ancient Greek khelidonios, which means "swallow-like". In fact in many countries, terns are referred as ‘sea-swallows’ in local names. Hybridization with Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) has been recorded in Europe. References  IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22694730/154676367 Birds of the World: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/briter1/cur/introduction New Zealand Birds Online: https://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/white-winged-black-tern Australian Government Species Profile and Threats Database: https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=59598 Gochang Big Bird Race 2023 brought birdwatchers to contribute bird data to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Special achievement award to the Chinese Crested Tern team Webinar on Chinese Crested Tern in the Yellow Sea and Seabird Conservation in China Chinese Crested Tern banded in Republic of Korea sighted in China Chinese Crested Tern Restoration of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern using social attraction technique A Conservation Success in Minjiang River Estuary A tern for the better Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Terns appear on a deserted island in South Korea The First Ever Banded Chinese Crested Tern Chick has Fledged

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