18 January, 2010

Elegant Tern

Scientific Name: Thalasseus elegans

Population Estimate: 50K - 90K, Near Threatened status

Range / Habitat: Breeds in dense colonies on Pacific coast and offshore islands of southern US and Mexico. Winters south along Pacific coast to Peru, Ecuador and Chile

Field Notes: Medium tern with grey wings, black legs, shaggy black crest, and thin orange bill which is lighter at the tip and can appear to droop. In non-breeding adults, black cap recedes but still contiguous with eye. Royal Tern larger, darker bill, cap does not extend to eyes in non-breeding adults. Caspian Tern much larger, bright red bill with dark tip, no crest.

Personal Notes: Seen in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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