Little Tern

Little Tern

The sudden descent from hovering is splendid.

Characteristics

A waterside summer bird with distinctive elongated wings. The whole body is light gray on the upper surface, white from the neck to the belly, and black on the head as if wearing a helmet. The eye line and eye color are the same black as the head, but the area from the forehead to the base of the beak is white in an inverted triangle. The long, sharp beak is bright yellow with a slightly black tip. The legs are pink. Its tail feathers are elongated like a swallow, giving it an elegant feel when flying.

Calls

When flying, it makes a short call, "Kyu" "Kyui". I feel that the volume is a little smaller than the seagull.

Origin of name

If you write Koajisashi in kanji, it becomes "Ko-Ajisashi(small horse mackerel)". “Ajisashi” does not mean horse mackerel sashimi, of course, but comes from the idea of catching fish by diving in a river or sea. Depending on the region, it is also called "Ayu-taka(sweetfish hawk)".

Picture of Little Tern

Ecology

They come to Japan as summer birds and breed. It is characterized by the way it dives to catch fish from the sky. It searches for prey by shaking its head from side to side, and when it finds a good spot, it hovers, aims for a few seconds, and dives vertically into the surface of the water. During the breeding season, males perform courtship feeding.

Breeds by forming colonies on sandy beaches. The chicks are very cute and have a gray color similar to the color of sandy ground.

Habitat

Tama River

I photographed an individual taking food in a place where the water surface of the Tama River is calm. After catching a fish with a brilliant dive, it flew straight to the place where the female was, and immediately returned to start hunting again. When another male approached, he got into a fight and increased his speed and chased him around.

Its wings are long relative to its body, so its hovering form and silhouette when diving headlong look especially beautiful.

Pictures

Introducing a picture of Little Tern.

Picture of Little Tern1|Swoop down to catch fish.
Swoop down to catch fish.
Picture of Little Tern2|Hovering.
Hovering.
Picture of Little Tern3|Long wings and tail feathers are graceful.
Long wings and tail feathers are graceful.
Picture of Little Tern4|It has a yellow beak and a white inverted triangle forehead.
It has a yellow beak and a white inverted triangle forehead.
Picture of Little Tern5|It landed but the hunt was unsuccessful.
It landed but the hunt was unsuccessful.
Picture of Little Tern6|There was a scuffle in the air.
There was a scuffle in the air.
Picture of Little Tern7|It's the pair that was on the block.
It's the pair that was on the block.
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Pictures of Little Tern.

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