Chlidonia’s terns in Germany

It applies to all species of the genus Chlidonias that they colonize nutrient-rich waters with rich bank vegetation, especially on lakes and slowly flowing rivers. They build their nests on floating plants and often form colonies during breeding season. Long stalks of rushes, ledges and cattails are used as building material. These are easy to swim. The Whiskered Tern also feeds mainly on insects that are collected in flight from the surface of the water or by plants. Small fish, frogs and crustaceans are also eaten

I photographed many Whiskered Terns in Sri Lanka. But, the pictures could even have been photographed in Germany as well. If you want to see a Whiskered Tern in Germany on migration through Germany, you should keep your eyes open to larger rivers at the beginning of May. Especially the Black Tern flock clusters on oxbow lakes attract the Whiskered Terns towards evening. But you have to be patient and, best of all, hold out until the evening. The birds are not shy – at least when they are in flight. This is especially true on migration. The Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) occurs widely across the world in Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. It is rare in Germany and only breeds in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt. Evidence of breeding was also recently reported in Brandenburg. In other parts of the world, however, this Chlidonia tern is the most common of the genus.

Even in the breeding plumage, Chlidonia terns are not always easy to distinguish from one another or from some of the smaller Sterna terns. This is all the more true if the breeding plumage has not yet developed or the species has moulted into non-breeding plumage. I find the Chlidonia terns to be particularly tricky in non-breeding plumage, especially in the first calendar year, when they have lost their conspicuous young plumage and the magnificent dress of the breeding plumage is far from being developed. I have therefore tried to write a blog about the best possible identification characteristics of the species of young Chlidonia terns.

The best book is definitely still the (English) Helm Identification Guides “Terns” by Klaus Malling Olsen from December 1994. It is now sold as an antiquarian bookshop at a significantly higher price than it was then in the store and has unfortunately not been reissued. The drawings are still very helpful, even if the photos could use a refresher. Due to the technical development, aerial photographs that represent many body features much better should also be represented much more strongly.

Amazingly good, informative drawings and comprehensible descriptions can also be found in the rather old, but still excellent, book “Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania” from 1996 by Dale A. Zimmerman, Donald A. Turner and David J. Pearson.

In order to meet the growing demand for top images of the rarer species of Palaearctic has specifically made trips to remote places. Additionally every chance is used, if a rare bird is around the homeground. This is to do everything to ensure excellent photos of the Birds of the Western Palearctic . The results in images also of rare Western Palaearctic birds is very good. There are other nice images of birds, that you will find behind the tab “Picture Shop“. Just give a notice if you need a picture of a bird which is not online.

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