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Which tern? Nouakchott, Mauritania

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Old Friday 31st March 2017, 21:15   #1
BirdingRob
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Which tern? Nouakchott, Mauritania

Seen today.

Common, arctic and roseate are all possible at the moment.

Which one is it please?

All help gratefully received.

Rob
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Old Friday 31st March 2017, 21:55   #2
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Andy,

I favour roseate myself whereby this bird isn't quite in full breeding plumage yet. The streamers appear longer than the tail but not full length yet. Arctic should have a shorter bill and I feel I could eliminate that one on that basis alone. It also just stood out from the few commons I have seen here. I am very interested in what others think.
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Old Friday 31st March 2017, 21:56   #3
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Roseate for me
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Old Friday 31st March 2017, 22:55   #4
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Agree not Arctic; legs as well as bill too long. I'd favour Common; wings look longer than tail to me, and beak doesn't look quite right for Roseate, a bit too stout at the base. Also circumstantial evidence - a very high proportion of European Roseates are ringed.
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 01:16   #5
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I believe the black edge to the tail feathers visible on the second image is negative for Roseate. Common for me.

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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 08:35   #6
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Dear all, thanks for your feedback. I am now edging towards common tern. This has been instructive. Rob
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 08:52   #7
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It seems to me that the tail streamers are distinctly longer than the wings, especially viewing the first two images.

The apparent dark edge to the tail may just be shadow. I'd also expect to see darker wingtips on Common.

Re the bill, I'm seeing a distinct "kink" in the lower mandible, making the bill look slightly crooked, which seems to be a feature of Roseate rather than Common.

Lastly, I don't think the absence of rings is a reason for discounting Roseate.
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 10:30   #8
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the roseate-typical wide white edges to primaries are lacking in this bird: it's a common tern. bill is also too short.
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 18:32   #9
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Here are three more pictures. Indeed these were taken before all the others at the other side of the lake. The bird looked very pale overall for a common tern so I ran all the way round the lake to get a closer look. This was a bit energetic to say the least.

Do these not show quite white edges to primaries (esp the second picture) ? BTW until this feature was mentioned I hadn't known about it or looked for it.

Rob
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Last edited by BirdingRob : Saturday 1st April 2017 at 18:36. Reason: minor grammar
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 20:49   #10
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So a bird distinctive enough to have got your attention . . . but I still don't think it's a Roseate.

Never seen one myself, but there are quite a few records of Common x Roseate pairs hybridising in Britain - perhaps this could be one of their offspring?
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Old Sunday 2nd April 2017, 09:26   #11
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Nutcracker thanks. I think we have taken this as far as it can go now.

Rob
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