Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Nests    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   W   Y  

10

Australian Tern

(Gelochelidon macrotarsa)
Alternate name(s): "Australian Gull-billed Tern", "Long-legged Tern"
Size: 33-42 cm; wing span 75-90 cm
Weight: 220-290 g

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Tern at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

Sex unknown

BREEDING

Near-lateral view of an adult Australian Tern in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bribie Island, QLD, August 2021]

Lateral view of an Australian Tern in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Hunter Wetlands NP, Newcastle, NSW, December 2023]

Lateral view of Australian Terns in both breeding and non-breeding plumage, with one smaller tern which looks, by its bill, to be a Common Tern
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Near-frontal view of an Australian Tern in breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Near-lateral view of an Australian Tern in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Near Old Bar, NSW, December 2019]

Lateral view of an Australian Tern in breeding plumage in flight, showing the upperwing pattern (left) and underwing pattern (right)
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Australian Tern in breeding plumage caught at a somewhat inconvenient moment...
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

NON-BREEDING

Near-lateral view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage looking towards the observer, together with a Bar-tailed Godwit (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Hunter Wetlands NP, Newcastle, NSW, December 2023]

Lateral view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage, together with a Bar-tailed Godwit (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Hunter Wetlands NP, Newcastle, NSW, December 2023]

Near-frontal view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage banking in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral/ventral view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, September 2012]

Near-dorsal/ventral view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, September 2012]

Near-dorsal/ventral view of an Australian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Food, Diet

As opposed to other terns, Australian Terns feed on crabs, other crustaceans as well as grasshoppers, dragon flies and other insects that they take from sand dunes, sand bars, dry mudflats or the edges of inland lakes or dams.

Lateral view of an Australian Tern taking a mud crab it has scabbed from a Bar-tailed Godwit (slightly unsharp)
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Lateral view of an Australian Tern taking a mud crab
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Australian Tern with its prey
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.