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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 17:37   #1
AJDH
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Little/Saunder's tern - Arabian gulf

I was not sure if this was a little or Saunder's tern so all help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Adrian

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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 18:38   #2
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Hi Adrian!

Nice one this, and they can be tricky to separate, especially in non-breeding plumage, and many are intermediate.
But this is why I think your bird is a Little:

http://www.birdsoman.com/SaunderssTern.htm

If you look at how long the white forehead patch reaches towards the eye, you´ll see that it doesn´t reach over, and behind the eye, which it doe´s in Little

http://www.oiseaux.net/photos/yvonni...e.naine.1.html

and in your tern.
Is that enough to separate the two you are thinking?

That upperparts is paler (usually darker than little in winter, the opposite), than Little and the rump and tail is grey we can´t see here, white rump and tail in Little, although Little breeding in same area as Saunder´s often has central tail feathers grey. Saunder´s usually has more extensive black on outer primaries, 3 (4) black, against 2 (3) in Little, which then would be seen on a standing bird as less black on outer primariy tip, as in your bird.

JanJ

Last edited by JANJ : Monday 1st May 2006 at 18:43.
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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 18:46   #3
AJDH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JANJ
Hi Adrian!

Nice one this, and they can be tricky to separate, especially in non-breeding plumage, and many are intermediate.
But this is why I think your bird is a Little:

http://www.birdsoman.com/SaunderssTern.htm

If you look at how long the white forehead patch reaches towards the eye, you´ll see that it doesn´t reach over, and behind the eye, which it doe´s in Little

http://www.oiseaux.net/photos/yvonni...e.naine.1.html

and in your tern.
Is that enough to separate the two you are thinking?

That upperparts is paler (usually darker than little in winter, the opposite), than Little and the rump and tail is grey we can´t see here, white rump and tail in Little, although Little breeding in same area as Saunder´s often has central tail feathers grey. Saunder´s usually has more extensive black on outer primaries, 3 (4) black, against 2 (3) in Little, which then would be seen on a standing bird as less black on outer primariy tip, as in your bird.

JanJ
Thanks Jan.......................you are "The man".
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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 20:51   #4
Ian Mckerchar
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They don't get any easier from you Adrian

Jan very nicely summised the reasons why your bird is a Little Tern and although my own experience of Saunders Tern is rather limited, in addition I think the bill is usually duller yellow, legs duller reddish/brown and the corners of the white forehead patch (above the eye) are usually rounded as apposed to the sharply pointed corners of Little tern. These show quite well in the images provided by Jan (and comparing your own), but I am unsuare if they hold as much significance in non-breeding plumage?

I could learn plenty here myself!

Cheers,

Ian
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 03:07   #5
AJDH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Mckerchar
They don't get any easier from you Adrian

Jan very nicely summised the reasons why your bird is a Little Tern and although my own experience of Saunders Tern is rather limited, in addition I think the bill is usually duller yellow, legs duller reddish/brown and the corners of the white forehead patch (above the eye) are usually rounded as apposed to the sharply pointed corners of Little tern. These show quite well in the images provided by Jan (and comparing your own), but I am unsuare if they hold as much significance in non-breeding plumage?

I could learn plenty here myself!

Cheers,

Ian
Thanks Ian
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