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Grey-backed Tern

GREY-BACKED TERN
Sterne à dos gris © Jean Kape

Sterne à dos gris © Jean Kape


ASPECT ET IDENTIFICATION
Sterne à dos gris © Jean Kape

Sterne à dos gris © Jean Kape

15 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. It is a small tern with the grey top body, a white forehead and dark wings edges. The rest of the body is white. Unlike the sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus), the white area of the forehead covers the side of the head. The beak and legs are black. Its sharp, tapered wings and long forked tail are characteristic of terns.


Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Laridae

Category: Seabirds


LOCATION
Nests in the Marquesas and the Tuamotu and perhaps Scilly (Company) but also in Hawaii, the Phoenix Islands (Christmas) and the Line. Common in tropical and central area of the Pacific Ocean.


CHARACTERISTICS

Feeds near the islands where it nests. This bird is pelagic outside the breeding season.

Call similar, in softer, the one of the Sooty Tern.

To listen the Grey-backed Tern:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Onychoprion-lunatus

Fishes, cephalopods and insects that it captures while diving.

Lays a single egg (43 x 33 mm). Breeds in scattered small colonies.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.

Bibliography:
https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/778901
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=1A965D60F3D76D19
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/sterne.a.dos.gris.html
http://ifrecor-doc.fr/items/show/1283
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/grey-backed-tern-onychoprion-lunatus
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/grey-backed-tern-onychoprion-lunatus
https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22694722/132569974

NAMES

Scientific Name: Onychoprion lunatus (Peale, 1848)

Polynesian Names:
Ore ore (Scilly), kaveka (Tuamotu), tara, ta’a (Marquesas)

LOCATION
  • Society
  • Tuamotu
  • Marquesas (Eiao, Hatuta’a, Mohotani, Fatu Huku)
  • And also Hawaii, Micronesia, Fiji and the whole Polynesia

STATUS AND PROTECTION

The species is classified as “Least Concern” (LC) on the IUCN Red List but « Endangered » (EN) on the France and Polynesia 2015 UICN Red List.