Wildlife in Italy: Tern Hydroprogne caspia Pallas, 1770

Wildlife in Italy: Tern Hydroprogne caspia Pallas, 1770

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Caradriformi
Family: gulls
Kind: Hydroprogne
Species: H. caspia Pallas, 1770

The Tern is a migratory species widespread in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and North America. The most important breeding colonies in the western Palearctic Region are concentrated in the Volga Delta, along the northern coast of the Black Sea, in the Baltic Sea and, to a lesser extent, in the Mediterranean. The populations of the Volgas Delta mostly winter in the Persian Gulf, while those of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea spend the winter season mainly in West Africa, both along the coasts and in the areas of the hinterland subject to floods, and in a minimal part in the Mediterranean. The post-breeding migration to the wintering quarters takes place between August and October, while the pre-breeding migration to the nesting quarters takes place between March and May.
winter livery In Italy she is a regular migrant and an irregular winter visitor with few individuals.
During the passes it is more frequent and regular along the coasts of the lower and upper Adriatic (Puglia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto), the middle and upper Tyrrhenian (Lazio, Tuscany), Sardinia and Sicily.

Greater tern - Caspian hydroprogne (photo Sternacaspia by Len Blumin - With CC BY 2.0 license via Wikimedia Commons - # / media / files: Sternacaspia.jpg)

Greater tern - Caspian hydroprogne (photo

Tern in flight - Caspian hydroprogne (photo

Distinctive characters

Length: 48–56 cm
Wingspan: 150 cm
Weight: 580-780 gr

The livery, the same in both sexes, is white on the chest and neck; the back, the upper part of the wings and the tail are light gray; the top of the head is black, as are the legs and the tip of the wings. But the hood, which in the other terns changes color according to the season, does not change in winter except for some subtle white streaks. The beak is robust, bright red with a black tip.


They mostly feed on fish that they catch at sea or in lakes, diving from medium height, and that they eat directly in flight. To hunt they go offshore up to 60 km from the coast. They also occasionally feed on insects, eggs or chicks of other species.
The large terns are colonial birds. They build their nests on the ground in freshwater environments, between sand, gravel and sometimes between vegetation, also together with other species. The female lays from one to three green-blue colored eggs, speckled with brown, which she hatches for about 26-28 days. The chicks, after 35-45 days, plummet differently from nest to nest, to help recognition by the parents when they return with food.

Video: vulturine guinea fowls (July 2022).


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