IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Biology

Hovering over the water before plunge-diving to catch its prey, the Damara tern feeds mainly on small fish, such as mullet and anchovy, and on small squid (2). Breeding occurs between late October and mid November (2) (3), with one, or rarely two, eggs being laid into a small scrape on open ground, the adult birds preferring locations that provide good visibility (3). The egg hatches after an incubation of between 18 and 22 days, with the vulnerable chick well camouflaged to match its surroundings, being white below and fawn above, speckled with black. The chick leaves the nest at just two days old, crouching motionless to blend in with its surroundings and so avoid detection by predators. Fledging occurs around 20 days later, but the chick is dependent on the adult birds for another two and a half months (2) (3).

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Source: ARKive

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