SWIFT TERN

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sterna bergii

SIZE: 50 cm

WEIGHT: 120g

Family

Rynchopidae

Habitat

Occurs in small groups in coastal waters.

Bird Call

A loud, screaming ‘kreee-kreee’.

Breeding

Nest usually on some open, flat area, March – October. A shallow scrape is made, sometimes lined with a little grass. Eggs 1- 2 with a basic off-white colour, light turquoise or pale pinkish marked with brown splotches.

Immature Description

Immature has yellow bill, black-and-white barred upper-parts with buff-edged feathers – quite a mottled plumage. The sexes are alike.

Adult Description

A large Tern, with large, slightly curved, yellow bill. Forehead strip, sides of face, neck and underparts white. Black legs and feet with yellow soles.

Status

Common resident.

Distribution

Common in the south western Cape and to be found usually in small parties along the coast, or at estuaries. Breed on Schaapen, Marcus, Dyer, Malgas, Meeuw and Robben Islands, but not on each island every year.