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Is this a Roseate Tern?? (1 Viewer)

The Scavenger

The Scavenger
Saw this Tern on 6/13/20 in a salt marsh just outside Atlantic City, New Jersey far in the distance. I could make out that it had a black bill & thought it might be a Gull-billed Tern which are common there this time of year but something didn't seem right so I took a very distant picture. When I enlarged the picture I could see the bill was longer & finer then I would expect for Gull-billed & the breast & belly seemed to have a pinkish wash to them. It also seems to be banded. Was pretty sure I'd finally found my lifer Roseate Tern but I wanted to be sure before posting it on eBird so I put the pictures up on another ID forum & the people there thought it was a pretty straightforward Roseate. I went ahead & put it on eBird but it has yet to be confirmed in spite of the fact that other birds on the checklist were confirmed. This leads me to believe the reviewer does not feel it is a Roseate & has me wondering if I'm missing something. I'm posting here now to try & get confirmation one way or the other. As I said it would be a lifer so I wanted to be sure before counting it as such. I apologize for the poor picture, hopefully it's enough to go on. Thanks in advance!

Greg Miller


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Stop Brexit!
Looks more like Gull-billed to me - bill too short and stout for Rosy, legs long and black, wings very long (Rosy is relatively short-winged), and no hint of the long tail streamers (which I think would show despite the blurry pic). The habitat is also wrong for Rosy, they're very pelagic, whereas saltmarsh is quite typical for G-b.


Unknown member
I agree with what Nutcracker says above, and should add that the underwing pattern definitely rules out Roseate (the narrow black border to the primaries) while it is consistent with GBT.

tom baxter

Well-known member
The black trailing edge under the primaries is better for Gull-billed Tern. Legs also look black. Probably Gull-billed. The bill does look thin to me too but the wing pattern is a strike against Roseate. I can’t see a band but if there is one that would add to the case for Roseate. I’m not 100% sure but I could see why the reviewer would exercise caution.
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