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

Caspian Tern

(Hydroprogne caspia)
Aboriginal name(s): "karrynekarryne" (WA)
Size: 48-60 cm; wing span: 1.25-1.45 m
Weight: 530-780 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 Caspian Tern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

BREEDING

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern in breeding plumage, centre, with another starting to moult into eclipse plumage behind and a Gull-billed Tern in non-breeding plumage in front (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, September 2017]

Close-up near-lateral view of a Caspian Tern in near-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, September 2017]

Caspian Terns resting together with a flock of Silver Gulls; the bird at the centre back is in breeding plumage, the three on the right in non-breeding plumage; note that Caspian Terns are taller than Silver Gulls
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Two Caspian Terns in breeding plumage resting in shallow water
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2017]

Lateral view of Caspian Terns in breeding plumage, back, one in eclipse plumage, centre, and another in transitional plumage in front; note that the latter is ringed and tagged (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, September 2017]

Frontal view of a Caspian Tern in breeding plumage in flight
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2015]

Close-up view from underneath of a Caspian Tern in breeding plumage in flight; the bird has just flown a tight bend, using its fanned tail for extra lift
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern in breeding plumage in flight displaying its upperwing pattern
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern in breeding plumage in flight displaying its underwing pattern
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern in transitional plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a Caspian Tern in transitional plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

NON-BREEDING

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Gatton, QLD, August 2017]

Frontal view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

View from underneath of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Near-frontal view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Near-frontal view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Near-lateral view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

This near-dorsal view of a Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage in flight shows clearly both the upperwing pattern (near-side wing) and underwing pattern (far-side wing)
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Caspian Tern in non-breeding plumage taking off again after an unsuccessful dive
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Size comparison with a Red-necked Avocet (bottom left)
[Goran Lake, NSW, February 2012]

Here a Caspian Tern's way of waste management... (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

(Possibly immature) Caspian Tern in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

(Possibly immature) Caspian Tern in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, April 2012]

Food, Diet

Like all terns, Caspian Terns feed on fish, which they catch with their bills just under the water surface in a steep high-speed dive from considerable height.

Lateral view of a Caspian Tern taking off with its catch; see the page on White-necked Herons for an example of how they are hustled by Caspain Terns - an indication that the two species compete for food (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Caspian Tern attempting to grab something in shallow water
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Caspian Tern taking off ater an unsuccessful attempt
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Dorsal view of a Caspian Tern taking off with its catch

This Caspian Tern was observed by us cleaning its bill (it had nothing in its bill that it might otherwise have been rinsing)
[Goran Lake, NSW, May 2012]

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.