Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Caspian Tern

I saw Caspian terns for the third time on Saturday. The first time was at Orlando Wetlands Park, Florida, in January 2018. They were in non-breeding plumage, which means that the black cap had lots of white in it and the black tip at the end of the bill was very feint. The second time was near South Padre Island in southern Texas. The black cap on these birds was a little darker and the black at the end of the bill more pronounced. On Saturday, at the man-made mitigation swamp between McDonald and Hazard Roads in Niland, I saw several Caspian terns in breeding plumage. The black cap was completely dark and the black tip at the end of the bill more pronounced. This bird, in breeding plumage, is one of my favorites.

A non-breeding Forster's tern is to the left. I believe it is a breeding Forster's term to the right, or perhaps a young Forster's tern. 

The Caspian tern is the largest tern. The size differential between it and the Forster's tern on the right is substantial. 

1 comment:

  1. Those reddish orangish beaks are jarring, like too bright lipstick on an elderly woman.