Whiskered Tern (species: Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida) in Sydney Marine Life (Gaia Guide)
Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida
Whiskered Tern

©Tom Tarrant: Whiskered Tern (Whiskered Tern)

©Arthur Chapman: Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida)

©Marek Szczepanek: Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida) adult with chick
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae
Genus Chlidonias
Species Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

It has a black cap, strong bill and a short, forked tail.

The breeding plumage is a darkish grey above and below. The summer adult has white cheeks and red legs and bill.

In winter, the forehead becomes white and the body plumage a much paler grey.

The crown is flecked with white in the juvenile, and the hindcrown is more uniformly blackish, though in the winter adult this too is flecked with white. In the juvenile, the mantle has a variegated pattern whereas it is a silvery grey in adults. (Wikipedia)


  • From 23 cm to 25 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 74 cm to 78 cm



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias (Chlidonias) hybrida)

Distribution and habitat preferences

It breeds in warmer parts of Europe and Asia. The smaller-billed and darker subspecies (C.H. delalandii) is found in east and south Africa, and the paler subspecies (C. h. javanicus) from Java to Australia.

The tropical forms are resident, but European and Asian birds winter south to Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. (Wikipedia)


It eats small fish, amphibians, insects and crustaceans. (Wikipedia)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.