Forster's Tern

1/3200s at f9.0, ISO:800, Canon Mark IV 1D w/800mm


The Forster's Tern, is a member of the tern family Sternidae. It breeds inland in North America and winters south to the Caribbean and northern south America. This species breeds in colonies in marshes. It nests in a ground scrape and lays three or more eggs. Like all white terns, it is fiercely defensive of its nest and young. The Forster's Tern feeds by plunge diving for fish, but will also hawk for insects in its breeding marshes. It usually feeds from saline environments in winter, like most Sterna terns. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favored by the Arctic Tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display. This species is unlikely to be confused with the Common Tern in winter because of the black eye mask, but is much more similar in breeding plumage. Forster's has a grey center to its white tail, and the upper wings are pure white, without the darker primary wedge of Common. This bird is named after the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster.
Bolsa Chica Wetland, California
 
08/24/2012