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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Adults are largely white, with: a very pale-grey back, rump and uppertail-coverts and upperwings; a bold, black band extending from the lores, where narrow, across the nape; and a thin blackish outer web to the outermost primary, forming a dark leading edge to the outerwing in flight and to a dark lower edge to the folded wing. The underparts can have a faint pinkish tinge at times. The bill, legs and feet are black, and the eyes dark brown. Juveniles are similar to adults but with a less clear-cut black nape-band, and with dark mottling and wash to the crown; and dark crescents and white scaling to the saddle and tertials, extending diffusely onto the rear upperbody. The tail has fine dark edges and is less deeply forked than in the adult, and the upperwing is also scaled with black and marked with dusky cubital and secondary bars. The bill is black with a paler base, but the bare parts are otherwise like those of the adult. Black-naped Terns are often gregarious, especially when they are breeding and roosting, although less so when they are foraging. They occur in groups ranging from a few birds up to approximately 100. They are often seen standing with Crested Terns (Thalasseus bergii), Lesser Crested Terns (T. bengalensis), Bridled Terns (Onychoprion anaethetus = Sterna anaethetus) and Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii), in large mixed groups, though there tends to be some segregation in these congregations. Black-naped Terns are more likely to land near a group of terns (even another species) than where there are no terns. They often forage with other species of terns and noddies, such as Bridled and Roseate Terns and Black Noddies (Anous minutus). However, during the breeding season, they forage singly.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Range Description

This species ranges in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. In the western Indian Ocean it breeds on the Aldabra and Amirante Islands, Seychelles, Chagos Islands (British Indian Ocean Territory) and the Maldives and can be found on the eastern African coast. Its range in the eastern Indian Ocean and Pacific ecompasses the Andaman Islands, India, east to southern Japan and China, south through Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippenes and New Guinea to north-east Australia and some islands in the western-central Pacific (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

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Source: IUCN

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Subspecies and Distribution:


    * sumatrana Raffles, 1822 - Andaman and Nicobar Is E to S Japan and China, and S through Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea to NE & E Australia and Pacific islands (Yap, Marshall Is, Ponapé, Micronesia), with breeding also suspected (at least formerly) in Bengal, Bangladesh and S Myanmar; birds from Japan and China winter to S. * mathewsi Stresemann, 1914 - Aldabra, Amirante, Chagos and Maldive Is, W Indian Ocean.


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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Physical Description

Size

The Black-naped Tern is a small and slender marine tern (total length 30–32 cm; mean weight approximately 105 g) with a long and deeply forked tail

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Diagnostic Description

Description

Length: 34-37 cm. Plumage: above very pale grey; below white; tail grey with white outer tail feathers; head white with black from nape around sides of head through eyes; outer primary black. Immature brownish with darker grey mottling on back, black patch on hindneck. Bare parts: iris brown; bill black with yellow tip; feet and legs black with pink soles. Habitat: seacoasts, islands and offshore. Breeds in Indian ocean from Amirantes and Aldabra to Chagos Islands, non-breeding visitor to Mozambique and northern natal. <389><391><393>
  • Urban, E.K., C.H. Fry & S. Keith (1986). The Birds of Africa, Volume II. Academic Press, London.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Adults are largely white, with: a very pale-grey back, rump and uppertail-coverts and upperwings; a bold, black band extending from the lores, where narrow, across the nape; and a thin blackish outer web to the outermost primary, forming a dark leading edge to the outerwing in flight and to a dark lower edge to the folded wing. The underparts can have a faint pinkish tinge at times. The bill, legs and feet are black, and the eyes dark brown. Juveniles are similar to adults but with a less clear-cut black nape-band, and with dark mottling and wash to the crown; and dark crescents and white scaling to the saddle and tertials, extending diffusely onto the rear upperbody. The tail has fine dark edges and is less deeply forked than in the adult, and the upperwing is also scaled with black and marked with dusky cubital and secondary bars. The bill is black with a paler base, but the bare parts are otherwise like those of the adult. Black-naped Terns are often gregarious, especially when they are breeding and roosting, although less so when they are foraging. They occur in groups ranging from a few birds up to approximately 100. They are often seen standing with Crested Terns (Thalasseus bergii), Lesser Crested Terns (T. bengalensis), Bridled Terns (Onychoprion anaethetus = Sterna anaethetus) and Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii), in large mixed groups, though there tends to be some segregation in these congregations. Black-naped Terns are more likely to land near a group of terns (even another species) than where there are no terns. They often forage with other species of terns and noddies, such as Bridled and Roseate Terns and Black Noddies (Anous minutus). However, during the breeding season, they forage singly.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species frequents small offshore islands, reeds, sand spits and rocky cays, feeding in atoll lagoons and close inshore over breakers, but sometimes also at sea. It feeds mainly on small fish and will almost always forage singly by shallow plunge-diving or surface-diving. Its breeding season varies depending on locality, usually forming small colonies of 5 to 20 pairs, but sometimes up to 200 pairs. Colonies are often monospecific and formed on unlined depression in the sand or in gravel pockets on coral banks close to the high tide line (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 2 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 25.938 - 26.284
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.068 - 0.292
  Salinity (PPS): 34.969 - 35.193
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.764 - 4.813
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.166 - 0.199
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.975 - 3.239

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 25.938 - 26.284

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.068 - 0.292

Salinity (PPS): 34.969 - 35.193

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.764 - 4.813

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.166 - 0.199

Silicate (umol/l): 2.975 - 3.239
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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In northern and north-eastern Australia, Black-naped Terns breed and roost on islands, which are very occasionally close to or attached to the mainland at low tides, and forage in seas surrounding colonies. Black-naped Terns are mainly associated with small, offshore sand and coral cays, coral reefs and lagoons, and sandy and rocky islands and islets, and in the surrounding seas. The species is only occasionally recorded in inshore waters away from their breeding colonies. Black-naped Terns usually nest in exposed, open sites, in simple, usually unlined depressions on bare sand or shingle beaches of cays, reefs and islands, typically in the narrow strip just above the high-water mark where debris collects. Occasionally they nest on spits, bare rock or among coral rubble or, more rarely, on top of logs or on structures, such as shipwrecks. Nests are usually away from vegetation or occasionally near the edge of vegetation, among grass and shrubs, or, rarely, beneath trees.

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Trophic Strategy

Black-naped Terns feed solely on fish, mainly Engaulidae, Exocoetidae, Atherinidae and Clupeidae. In Australia, fish eaten include species of: Apogonidae, Atherinidae (including Atherinomorus lacunosus, Pranesus capricornensis, Hypoatherina uisila), Blenniidae (including Belnnies), Carangidae, Clupeidae (including Spratelloides delicatulus, Amblygaster sirm, Herklotsichthys quadrimaculatus), Coryphaenidae, Engraulidae (including Encrasicholina, Engraulis australis), Exocoetidae, Gobiidae, Hemiramphidae, Labridae, Mugilidae, Parapercidae, Pinguipedidae, Pomacentridae, Scombridae and Sphryroenidae. Mean length of prey 35 mm, but take fish up to 100 mm long.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sterna sumatrana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, though national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in China; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Taiwan and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Wikipedia

Black-naped tern

The black-naped tern (Sterna sumatrana) is an oceanic tern mostly found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is rarely found inland.

The tern is about 30 cm long with a wing length of 21–23 cm. Their beaks and legs are black, but the tips of their bills are yellow. They have long forked tails.

The black-naped tern has a white face and breast with a grayish-white back and wings. The first couple of their primary feathers are gray.

Lady Elliot Island, Qld, Australia


References[edit]

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