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Bridled Tern - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by kuwaity
Kubbar island, Kuwait, May, 2004
Onychoprion anaethetus

Sterna anaethetus


Photo © by AJDH
Jarim Islands, Arabian Gulf, June 2009

35–38 cm (13¾-15 in)

  • Brownish-grey upperparts
  • Narrow white forehead patch, extending behind eye
  • Black loral stripe
  • May show pale collar
  • White underparts
  • Black legs and bill
  • Long deeply forked tail


  • Scaly grey upperparts
  • Pale underparts


Juvenile of subspecies melanopterus
Photo © by NJLarsen
Puerto Rico, 24 July 2007

Mexico, the Caribbean and west Africa; other races occur around Arabia and in Southeast Asia and Australasia.

Scarce vagrant to British Isles, usually during the summer.


Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Grey-backed Tern and Aleutian Tern are each others closest relatives; all four were included in the genus Sterna in the past. [1].


Non-breeding adult
Photo © by SeeToh
Straits of Singapore, October 2015

There are 4 subspecies recognized[1]:

  • O. a. melanopterus:
  • O. a. antarcticus:
  • Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean (including Madagascar, Aldabra, Seychelles, Mascarene and Andaman islands) east to the Maldives and Chagos Islands
  • O. a. anaethetus:
  • O. a. nelsoni:


Oceans; breeds on coral beaches and rocky islands.



The single egg is laid in a ground scrape or hole.


The diet consists of fish, squid, crustaceans and aquatic insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved October 2015)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.