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Lesser Crested Tern

(Thalasseus bengalensis)
Size: 33-40 cm; wing span 76-82 cm


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

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Lesser Crested Tern at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "bengalensis"


Sex unknown


Lesser Crested Terns (centre and, on the right, a bird in breeding plumage), together with a Crested Tern at the back and two White-cheeked Terns, which are the smaller birds
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Lateral view of a Lesser Crested Tern in breeding plumage in flight
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Lesser Crested Tern cruising in a bit of a breeze
[Batinah region, May 2010]


Lateral view of two Lesser Crested Terns in non-breeding plumage; note the slightly downcurved orange bill (click on image to see them together with a Greater Crested Tern)
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Four Lesser Crested Terns in non-breeding plumage (centre), together with a Common Tern
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Six Lesser Crested Terns (orange bills), together with two Sandwich Terns (tall birds with dark bills) and two smaller White-cheeked Terns
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Lesser Crested Terns (orange bills), together with several White-cheeked Terns (foreground), Crested Terns (yellow bills) and two Sandwich Terns on the right, with their dark bills
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Near-dorsal view of an immature Lesser Crested Tern in flight
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Different phase of the wingbeat
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Lateral view of a Lesser Crested Tern preparing for landing
[Quriyyat, May 2010]

Race "torresii"

Lesser Crested Terns, race "torresii", were photographed by us in Australia.

Food, Diet

Like all terns, Lesser 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.

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.

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