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Greater Crested Tern

(Thalasseus bergii)
Alternate name(s): "Greater Crested Tern", "Swift Tern"
Size: 46-49 cm; wing span: 1.25-1.3 m
Weight: 325-400 g (all values for race "bergii")


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

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Greater Crested Tern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "velox"


Sex unknown


Greater Crested Terns, with an adult bird in breeding plumage in the centre foreground, together with a White-cheeked Tern, right, and a Sandwich Tern, left; the Greater Crested Tern at the back right is in non-breeding plumage
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Greater Crested Terns (yellow bills), seen together with several other species of terns: Lesser Crested Terns (orange bills), White-cheeked Terns (foreground and left), Sandwich Terns (far right and near centre back)
[Quriyyat, May 2010]


Near-dorsal view of a Greater Crested Tern in non-breeding plumage (click on image to also see two Lesser Crested Terns)
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Race "cristatus"

Greater Crested Terns, race "cristatus", were photographed by us in Australia.

Food, Diet

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

We will try to replace these noisy recordings with better ones as soon as possible.

crstern_20160921_2.m4a cristatus
Contact calls © MD
crstern_20160921.m4a cristatus
Contact calls © MD

More Greater Crested Tern sound recordings are available at .

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.