Tern

From Academic Kids

Terns
Image:Smallarctern.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Sternidae
Genera
  • Sterna
    • (Gelochelidon)
    • (Hydroprogne)
    • (Thalasseus)
  • Chlidonias
  • Phaetusa
  • Anous
  • Procelsterna
  • Gygis
  • Larosterna

Terns are seabirds in the family Sternidae, previously considered a subfamily Sterninae of the gull family Laridae. They are less closely related to the waders, auks and skimmers. They have a worldwide distribution.

Most terns belong to the large genus Sterna, with the other genera being small, though some authorities split the genus Sterna into several smaller genera (see list, below).

Many terns breeding in temperate zones are long-distance migrants, and the Arctic Tern probably sees more daylight than any other creature, since it migrates from its northern breeding grounds to Antarctic waters. One Arctic Tern, ringed as a chick (not yet able to fly) on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast in eastern Britain in summer 1982, reached Melbourne, Australia in October 1982, a sea journey of over 22,000 km (14,000 miles) in just three months from fledging - an average of over 240 km per day, and one of the longest journeys ever recorded for a bird.

They are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. They have longish bills and webbed feet. They are lighter bodied and more streamlined than gulls, and look elegant in flight with long tails and long narrow wings. Terns in the genus Sterna have deeply forked tails, those in Chlidonias and Larosterna shallowly forked tails, while the noddies (genera Anous, Procelsterna, Gygis) have unusual 'notched wedge' shaped tails, the longest tail feathers being the middle-outer, not the central nor the outermost.

Most terns (Sterna and the noddies) hunt fish by diving, often hovering first, but the marsh terns (Chlidonias) pick insects of the surface of fresh water. Terns only glide infrequently; a few species, notably Sooty Tern, will soar high above the sea. Apart from bathing, they only rarely swim, despite having webbed feet.

Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25-30 years.

Classification & species list

Charadriiformes

Other usage

In North East Scotland people who are talking about "the Tern" are quite likely referring to an oil field or oil platform operated in the Shetland basin by Shell/ Esso. All of this consortium's UK assets are referred to by the names of various seabirds (though when they have bought assets from other operators, they have sometimes retained existing names).da:Terner de:Seeschwalben fr:Sternidé it:Sternidae nl:Sternidae pl:Rybitwy fi:Tiirat sv:Tärna

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