WHITE TERN


Gygis alba


Description:

White Terns, or "Fairy Terns" as they are commonly called, are interesting looking birds with their featureless white plumage and overly large looking eyes. The primarily feed on smaller fish, such as goat-fish, flying fish, dolphin fish, half-beaks and needle-fish. The White Tern feeds alone or in mixed species flocks. To catch its prey, the bird dives down to water surface, but does not submerge.


Appearance:

Entirely white plumage. Black eye ring around a dark eye gives the appearance of large eyes. Long, thick, pointed, black bill with blueish base. Shallowly notched tail. Slate-blue legs and feet. Yellow to whitish webbing on feet. Sexes similar. 11-13 inches in length.


Habitat:

Subtropical islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Found along the southern coast of O'ahu, Hawaii.


Nesting:

1 speckled egg. The egg has an average 36 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in about 48 days. Both parents incubate the egg in shifts that last 48-72 hours. After fledging, the parents continue to feed the young bird for up to two months. Chicks are fed whole fish or squid, not regurgitated food. No nest is built, the egg is laid on a small depression on a branch, roof or other surface. Breeds late spring to early summer.


Observed Locations:

  • Sheraton Hotel Waikiki, O'ahu, Hawaii





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Waikiki

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