Saturday, 15 August 2009

Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

OTHER NAMES: Boatswain, Surf Tern
Latin Etymology: Thalasseus ("fisherman") sandvicensis (named for Sandwich, Kent)

Assorted age and gender Sandwich Terns (subspecies T. s. sandvicensis) at Farne Islands, Northumbria - July 2009

Featured Subspecies: Thalasseus sandvicensis sandvicensis OR monotypic
Weight: 180-300g  /  Length: 34-45cm  /  Wingspan: 100cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Sandwich Tern is an exclusively coastal tern which breeds primarily along the East and South Coasts during the Summer although it may be seen on passage elsewhere. It is technically our second most common tern after the Arctic, but, both of the above I would consider harder to see on the basis that they are purely coastal dwelling rather than the common tern which breeds inland. Terns are easiest to photograph when on the ground and I would recommend going to the Farne Islands in the breeding season for this species.

Related Species:
Family: Sternidae
Genus: Thalasseus
Subspecies: Either T. s. sandvicensis, T. s. acuflavidus, T. s. eurygnathus or monotypic*

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Local Summer breeding migrant (12,000 pairs)
 - Birds seen commonly at a large number of sites, including but not limited to Trevose HeadRye HarbourOare Marshes and Farne Islands

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto 

*The American subspecies acuflavidus and eurygnathus are split as Cabot's Tern and Cayenne Tern, either as one or two species, which I will treat as separate should I see them, but I mention them here for clarity. 

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