Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis)

The Lesser Crested tern is found all along the coastal regions of India,and are widely distributed from the Mediterranean to Australia and parts of the Pacific. They winter to the south of the equator, and are often migratory, coming into the sub continent from Central Asia and the North. They have a distinct black crest, grey rump and yellow – orange bill and are thus identified from their fellow Tern family.

As part of their courtship display, the male offers fish to the female. The pre nesting period have couples doing acrobatics and vocalized flight patterns high in the sky. They breed after the monsoons and can be seen with their chicks on sand banks along the sea and backwaters of coastal India in dense colonies to keep away predators, their nests being just a simple scrape in the ground.

They feed by ‘plunge diving’, and are a delight to watch as they dive into the sea and come up with their catch.

The Lesser Crested Tern has a life span of about 10 -11 years.

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