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Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)

General Description: Elegant Terns (Thalasseus elegans) are large, light colored terns with a forked tail and a bill that is very long, very narrow, and bright orange. In flight, shows black on the top of the primaries, but the bottom of the primaries are mostly white.

As with most other terns, this species has differing winter and summer plumage. In breeding plumage, Elegant Terns have an extensive black cap (from the top of the bill to the back of the head). During winter, they loose the front part of the black cap, giving them a "going bald" appearance.

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Laridae, Sterninae.

Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Favored Habitat: Pacific Ocean; coastal areas.

Where to Find: Don't look for Elegant Terns around Las Vegas. Rather, look for them along the Pacific Coast. Around Las Vegas, keep an eye out for them during migration in places like Lake Mead and the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, because you never know when something interesting might show up.


Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
note the "going bald" appearance of the cap during winter
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Common Tern in flight carrying a fish.
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Common Tern feeding a fish to a fledgling or perhaps a mate?
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Common Tern heading out to get another fish
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) more to come ...
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 131016

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