29 August, 2009

Arctic Tern

Scientific Name: Sterna paradisaea

Population Estimate: 2M

Range / Habitat: Arctic terns breed around the Arctic and temperate northern parts of the northern Hemisphere. In Britain, the Arctic tern breeds around the coast in open sand or shingle habitats or in moorland and coastal heathland.

Field Notes:Elegant tern with black cap, bright orange bill and legs, and forked tail. At Kleifarvatn lake outside of Reykjavik we encountered a pair of adults who were defending their fledgling, well camouflaged in the stones on the beach. They called and dove at us until we were well clear. In flight they would swoop toward the water only to pull up dramatically centimeters above the surface and hover there before rising again.

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