Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Chlidonias leucopterus (Temminck, 1815)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Sternidae
Genus:Chlidonias
Species:C. leucopterus
Common Names:White-winged Tern
Status:Common winter visitor and passage migrant

Description

This White-winged Tern has white wings and a black body during breeding season but will change into its winter plumage with white body and dark outer wings.

Size 20–24 cm

Read more about the Charadriiformes order.
Read more about the Sternidae family.

Distribution

Breeds in Siberia; winters through China, Myanmar, through Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Straits of Malacca, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi, the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia.

Localities

Johor Straits, Lorong Halus, Kranji, Mandai, Ponggol, Poyan, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Sungei Seletar, Upper Peirce Reservoir.

General Biology

White-winged Terns can often be seen in flocks in reservoirs, prawn ponds, and coastal areas.

Images of their breeding, non-breeding and transitional plumages can be viewed HERE.

A bird was seen lying down on a partially dried up lake bed in Malin Nawab Wetlands in Perak, Malaysia. It was not injured and remained immobile for about a minute before it stood up when disturbed. This was an odd behaviour after a period of extremely hot weather - see HERE.

Diet

They take fish from the water surface instead of plunging into the water - as shown HERE and HERE. They also take aquatic as well as terrestrial insects and tadpoles.

References

Wang, L. K. 2011. Terns. Pp. 479. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

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