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White Tern

The White Tern (Gygis alba) is a small seabird found across the tropical oceans of the world. Often known as the Fairy Tern, this beautiful tern is famous for laying its egg on bare thin branches in a small fork or depression without a nest. They use this balancing act to avoid predation of the eggs as the branches they choose are too small for rats or even small lizards to climb.

Safe from predators, but still vulnerable from strong winds, the White Terns are also quick to relay should they lose the egg. The newly hatched chicks have well developed feet to hang on to their precarious nesting site with. It is a long-lived bird; the longest recorded lifespan is 17 years.

The White Tern is a small all white tern with a long black bill, and is related to the noddies. It ranges widely across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and also nests in some Atlantic islands. It nests on coral islands, usually on trees with thin branches but also on rocky ledges and on man-made structures. They feed on small fish which are cuahgt by plunge-diving.

The White Tern is not considered threatened as it is a wide-spread species with several large colonies around the world.

White Tern


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