Sunday, 17 April 2016

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)

Latin Etymology: Chlidonias ("swallow-like") hybrida ("hybrid")
                                             Whiskered Tern (subspecies C. h. hybridaat Laguna Navaseca, Spain - April 2016

Featured Subspecies: Chlidonias hybrida hybria
Weight: 80-100g  /  Length: 23-25cm  /  Wingspan: 74-78cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The palest of the three "Marsh Terns" found regularly in Europe, the Whiskered Tern more resembles a "classical" tern with a dark underbelly than the other two when in full breeding plumage. This is in fact reflected in the latin name "hybrida" - which suggests it does look like a hybrid of Marsh and "Sterna" terns.  A rare visitor to the UK, and I once attempted to see a juvenile that was present at Rutland Water, but was unable to positively pick it out without the more distinctive plumage at the great distances.  In Laguna Navaseca in Toledo province they were a common and easy to see presence, fishing in front of hides in the same way Common Terns do in wetlands in the UK.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Sternidae
Genus: Chlidonias
Subspecies: C. h. hybrida, C. h. delalandii, C. h. javanicus

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer Name: រំពេរពោះប្រផេះ ("? Grey Belly")
A locally common Winter visitor and passage migrant.

 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: Common approaching Prek Toal
SPAIN - Spanish - Fumarel cariblanco ("White-cheeked tern")
Locally common Summer migrant
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Abundant at Laguna Navaseca (dozens seen) and one flock seen at Laguna del Longar distantly.

Further Notes: 
BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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