CRESTED TERN (Sterna bergii)

Now I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne, I’m not close to the bayside beaches to the south of Melbourne City – only a small western port beach (and that takes some time to get to via 2 buses which run infrequently – miss one bus connection and you have to wait 40 minutes for the next bus).

I’ve spent a lot of time down the beach having fun photographing Silver and Pacific Gulls in the past.

In fact Silver Gulls frequent my current riverside home location too.

I love watching Seagulls in any shape or form.

They’re almost as much fun as watching the House Sparrows and Super Fairy-wrens on my apartment balcony.

While I’ve  never visited coastal regions famous for their bird life since I took up Photography as a hobby in 2010, I did occasionally see a couple of Terns, (some of which are known more for their marshland habitat), down at the local beach.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybridus)

I think this tern is the Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) now that I re-read my Australian Bird Guide book this morning.  Originally I thought it was a Whiskered Tern (Chilidonias hybrids).

But if you think I might have identified it incorrectly, please leave me a message in the comments section.  I only have these 2 photos.

There are several Terns that look very similar in Australia, but the Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis) which is a better match, (according to the Bird Guide book), with its long slender orange beak and black legs isn’t found this far south.

On the other hand the bird in the image above has a beak that looks more orange and the bird below has a yellow beak. Maybe it’s just the light.   Or maybe, they are 2 different terns 🙂

I think the flecked wing pattern below merely indicates it is a  juvenile (as is the case in juvenile Silver Gulls).

Bird identification is not as easy as you might think in Australia, what with cross-breeding (or hybrids) a possibility too.   It always pays to get photos from as many angles as possible in Bird Photography.

There are 18 Terns described in my Photographic Field Cuide – Birds in Australia by Jim Flegg.

This is an excellent Field Guide by the way and I can highly recommend it.


6 thoughts on “CRESTED TERN (Sterna bergii)

  1. My bird guide says the crested tern is probably the most common in Australia and that it’s yellow beak is a good identifier. So I think the bottom pic is a crested tern. As for the top one, very hard to say. Great pics though.

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    1. Thanks Peggy. I wish I’d taken more photos from different angles, but it would have flown away more quickly if I’d moved to another position. With the top shot, the crest is a bit more obvious in the wind, that’s for sure. The images were obviously of different birds.

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  2. Great post! A few years ago there were a lot of seagulls at the park. I should say “A LOT”. Although the park has a lake, we are close to the center of the United States which is several hours by plane to any ocean. I wondered how in heck seagulls came here? Truman Lake is about 45 minutes away so I guess that is where they came from. There are even pelicans there! But still, we are in the middle of the United States! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I really thought I’d identified it correctly when I made these shots, Terry, but it is worth double-checking when there’s so many very similar looking tern species in the country.

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