Tern Stock Video Footage


tern

Terns range in size from the least tern, at 23 cm (9.1 in) in length and weighing 30–45 g (1.1–1.6 oz), to the Caspian tern at 48–56 cm (19–22 in), 500–700 g (18–25 oz). They are longer-billed, lighter-bodied, and more streamlined than gulls, and their long tails and long narrow wings give them an elegance in flight. Male and female plumages are identical, although the male can be 2–5% larger than the female and often has a relatively larger bill. Sea terns have deeply forked tails, and at least a shallow "V" is shown by all other species. The noddies (genera Anous, Procelsterna and Gygis) have unusual notched-wedge shaped tails, the longest tail feathers being the middle-outer, rather than the central or outermost. Although their legs are short, terns can run well. They rarely swim, despite having webbed feet, usually landing on water only to bathe. The majority of sea terns have light grey or white body plumage as adults, with a black cap to the head. The legs and bill are various combinations of red, orange, yellow, or black depending on species. The pale plumage is conspicuous from a distance at sea, and may attract other birds to a good feeding area for these fish-eating species. When seen against the sky, the white underparts also help to hide the hunting bird from its intended prey. The Inca tern has mainly dark plumage, and three species that mainly eat insects, the black tern, white-winged tern, and black-bellied t...




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