White-winged Tern

Chlidonias leucopterus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

WWTE

Code 6

CHLLEU

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White-winged Tern has a huge global range reaching up to roughly between 1 and 10 million square kilometers. This bird can be found across Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and with vagrant populations in the Caribbean, North America and the UK among others. Its preferred terrain is as varied as its geographic spread and this species will appear in many marine and wetland environments including flood grasslands, rivers, streams, creeks, waterfalls, marshes, swamps, bogs, peatlands, lakes, tidal pools and even pastureland and rocky shoreline areas as well. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 2.5 to 4.5 million individual birds. Currently, it is not believed that the population trends for this bird will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the White-winged Tern have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.

VOTE: ILLUSTRATION

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SUMMARY

Overview

White-winged Tern: Small tern, black head, body, and underwing coverts; white rump, vent, upperwing coverts, and tail; flight feathers are pale gray. Bill is dark red to black; Red legs and feet. Fluttering, uneven flight with slow, shallow wing beats. Hovers before dipping for prey.


Range and Habitat North America

White-winged Tern: Eurasian species; casual vagrant in North American from eastern Canada and along the U.S. east coast; accidental inland, in Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, and on the western Aleutian Islands. Spends winters in Africa. Preferred habitats include inland wetlands, coastal wetlands, and estuaries.


Range and Habitat Hawaii


Range and Habitat Palau

White-winged Tern: Breeds from N. Italy across central and E. Europe through central Asia to E. China and Russia. Winters across most of Africa, parts of coastal India, much of SE Asia, and parts of Australia and New Zealand. Uncommon migrant to Palau where it can be seen by landfills, aquaculture ponds and sewage treatment facilities. Often found in mixed groups with Whiskered Terns. Nests in freshwater marshes and lakes; outside of breeding season occurs along rocky coasts, swamps, and other habitats.

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White-winged Tern was first described in 1815 by Coenraad Jacob Temminck, a Dutch aristocrat and zoologist.
  • In Britain the older name 'White-winged Black Tern' is still frequently used.
  • This Eurasian vagrant attracts numerous birders whenever it appears, usually during fall migration.
  • A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Xeno-Canto Sound

White-winged Tern

  • Title: White-winged Tern
  • Recordist: Frank Lambert
  • Description: Call is a hoarse "kersch" or "kreek".
  • Location: cn
  • Date: "April 27, 2017"

White-winged Tern A1

  • Title: White-winged Tern A1
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: Sharp "krrek" calls from a pair in flight.
  • Location: lk
  • Date: "June 30, 2015"

White-winged Tern L1

  • Title: White-winged Tern L1
  • Recordist: Jarek Matusiak
  • Description: Flight calls.
  • Location: pl
  • Date: "June 30, 2015"

Similar Sounding Palau Xeno-Canto

Whiskered Tern A3

  • Title: Whiskered Tern A3
  • Recordist: Andrew Spencer
  • Description: "Kek" calls as a bird flies over a large salt pan.
  • Location: lk
  • Date: "June 30, 2015"

Voice Text

"kersch", "kreek"

Vocalization

White-winged Tern: Emits a hoarse "kersch" or "kreek" call.

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Yury Lisyak

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Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
VentX
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X