The Bird Book/Gulls and Terns

The Bird Book by Chester A. Reed
Gulls and Terns: Family Laridae


GULLS and TERNS. Family LARID^)

Gulls are webbed footed birds having a slight hook to the end of the upper mandible. Their plumage is generally a silvery gray above and white below. They nest in large colonies, some on the islands of fresh water inland, but mostly on the sea coast. They procure their food from the surface of the water, it consisting mostly of dead fish and refuse matter, and Crustacea which they gather from the waters edge. When tired they rest upon the surface of the water, where they ride the largest waves in perfect safety.

Terns are birds of similar plumage to the Gulls, but their forms are less robust and the bills are generally longer and sharply pointed. Their food consists chiefly of small fish which they secure by hovering above the water, and then plunging upon them. They are less often seen on the surface of the water than are the Gulls.

CHARACTERISTIC NEST OF A LOON 38

Walter

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

39. IVORY GULL. Pagophila alba.

Range. Arctic regions; south in winter to the northern border of the United States.

The little Snow Gull, as it is often called, is eighteen inches in length. In the breeding season the plumage is entirely white; the bill is tipped with yellow and there is a red ring around the eye. These Gulls nest in large colonies in the Arctic Regions, placing their nests on the high rocky cliffs. The nest is made of grass, moss and rubbish, and the three eggs are laid during June. The eggs are olive color and the markings are dark brown.

10. KITTIWAKE. Rissa tridactyla trydactyla.

Range. North Atlantic and Arctic regions, breeding from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence northward and wintering south to the Great Lakes and Long Island.

The Kittiwake is sixteen inches in length, has a pearly gray mantle, black tips to the primaries, and remainder of plumage white. Its hind toe is very small being apparently wanting in the eastern form, while in the Pacific it is more developed. These are very noisy Gulls, their notes ; resembling a repetition of their name. They are very common in the far north, placing nests on the ledges of high rocky cliffs, often in company with Murres and Auks. They gather together a ' pile of sticks, grass and moss, making the interior cup-shaped so as to hold their two or three eggs. Large numbers of them breed on Bird

Rock

Ivorv

Kittiwake

White

they occupying certain ledges while the Gannets and Murres, which also breed there, also have distinct ledges on which to make their homes. The breeding season is at its height during June. The eggs are buffy or brownish gray and are spotted with different shades of brown. Size 2.25 x 1.60. Data. So. Labrador, June 15, 1884. Three eggs. Nest made of seaweed and moss, placed on ledge of cliff. Many Murres nesting on other ledges.

  • v

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THE BIRD BOOK

40a. PACIFIC KITTIWAKE. Rissa tridactyla pollicaris.

Range. Coast of the North Pacific, wintering south to California.

The Pacific Kittiwake breeds in immense rookeries on some of the islands in Bering Sea. They are well distributed over Copper Island where they nest in June and July, choosing the high ledges which overhang the sea. The nesting habits and eggs are precisely the same as those of the common Kittiwake.

11. RED-LEGGED KITTIWAKE. Rissa brevirostris.

Range. Northwestern coasts, breeding in high latitudes.

This Kittiwake is similar to the preceding, with the exception that the legs are bright red, the mantle is darker, and the bill is shorter. This species was found by Dr. Leonard Stejneger to be a very abundant nesting bird on islands in Ber

Red-legg-ed Kittiwake

Glaucous Gull Brownish buff

ing Sea, selecting steep and inaccessible rocks and ledges on which to build its nest. Their nesting habits, are precisely the same as the Pacific Kittiwake, but they most often nest in separate colonies, but can be distinguished readily when nesting together by the darker mantles when on the nest and the red legs when flying. Grass, moss and mud are used in the nest. The ground color of the eggs is buffy or brownish, and the spots are dark brown and lilac. Size 2.15 x 1.50.

42. GLAUCOUS GULL. Larus hyperboreus.

Range. Arctic regions, south in winter to Long Island, the Great Lakes, and San Francisco Bay.

This Gull shares with the Great Black-backed Gull the honor of being the largest of the Gulls, being 28 inches. in length. Mantle light gray; it is distinguished by its size and the primaries, which are white to the tips. A powerful zird that preys upon the smaller Gulls and also devours the young and eggs of smaller birds.

They nest on the ground on the islands and shores of Hudson Bay, Greenland, etc. The nest is made of seaweed, grass and moss and is generally quite bulky. The two or three eggs are laid in June. They are of various shades of color from a light drab to a brownish, and are spotted with brownish and black. Size about 3 x 2.20.

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LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS 42.1. POINT BARROW GULL. Larus barrovianus.

Range. Northwest coast from Bering Sea to Point Barrow.

This species is almost identical with the Glaucus Gull, averaging per . * ^ " . haps a trifle smaller.

  • Its standing as a dis

!CqB tinct species is still

- Ite questioned and has not

41 yet been decided satis l|lf, t factorily. Early in June

their nests are built on remote islands in Bering Sea. These nests are the same as the last species, large piles of vegetation, hollowed on top for the reception of the eggs. The eggs have the same variations in color and markings as the Glaucus Gull. Size 3 x 2.10. Data. Her sch el Is., Alaska, July 1, 1900. Nest made of seaweed and grass; placed on the ground. Three eggs. Collector, Rev. I. O. Stringer.

White

43.

ICELAND GULL. Larus leucopterus.

Range. Arctic regions, south in winter to the Middle States. This Gull in appearance is precisely like the two preceding ones but is considerably smaller; 24 inches in length. A very common bird in the north, breeding in colonies of thousands on many of the islands. It is regarded as

one of the most common

-*^ ^r*s-^^ of the larger Gulls in Ber ,> ^V- ing Sea and also nests

'-.^ commonly in Hudson Bay

.y'#*' ** -, and Greenland, as well as

'* ' . .-* ^l % *-' *"'**% ; ^ in the Eastern Hemis ^ "AiJt "'* -\'i^ ," - s Wi phere. They nest indiffer ently on high rocky cliffs or on low sandy islands. Ex3ept when the eggs are laid in a sandy depression in the soil, quite bulky nests are made of seaweed and moss. The eggs are laid about the first of June;

Greenish brown thev numbei> tW ^ thl i ee

and have a ground color

of brownish or greenish brown and are blotched with umber. Size 2.80 x 1.83. Data. Mackenzie Bay, Arctic America. June 18, 1899. Nest made of seaweed and grass on an island in the bay.

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THE BIRD BOOK

44. GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. Larus glaucescens.

Range. North Pacific coast, breeding from British Columbia northwards and wintering from the same country to southern California.

This Gull is very like the preceding except that the primaries are the same color as the mantle, and are tipped with white. Length about 27 inches. Not so northerly distributed a bird as the previous ones, and consequently better

Iceland Gull Glaucous-winged Gull

Pale greenish brown

known. They breed in large numbers both on the high rocky cliffs of the islands along the coast and on the low sandy islands of the Aleutian Chain. On Copper Island they breed on the inaccessible cliffs overhanging the water. As in the case of the Iceland Gull, when the nests are on the cliffs, a large nest of seaweed is made, whereas if they are on the ground, especially in

sandy places no attempt is made at nest-building. The eggs have a greenish brown ground color and dark brown spots. Sise 2.75 x 2.05. Data. West Coast of Vancouver Island. June 20, 1896. Three eggs; nest made of seaweed. Located on a low ledge. Collector, Dr. Newcombe.

45. KUMLIEN'S GULL. Larus Kumlieni.

Range. North Atlantic coast, breeding in Cumberland Sound and wintering as far south as Long Island.

This bird differs from the Glaucous-winged only in the pattern of the gray markings of the primaries and in having a little lighter mantle. It is quite common in its breeding haunts where it places its nest high up on the ledges of the cliffs. The eggs are not different apparently from glaucescens.

46. NELSON'S GULL. Larus nelsoni. Range. Coast of Alaska.

Plumage exactly like that of Kumlien Gull and questionably a new species. The nests and eggs are not to be distinguished from the preceding.

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47. GREAT-BLACK-BACKED GULL. Larus marinus.

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

Range. North Atlantic on both the American and European sides; breeds from Nova Scotia northward and winters south to the Great Lakes and the Middle States.

The largest of the Gulls (thirty inches long) and unlike any other. The mantle is dark slaty black, and the primaries are black with white tips. The bill is very large and powerful and

m

Great Black-backed Gull Kumlien's Gull

Grayish buff

quite strongly hooked. They are quite abundant birds in their range, and are very quarrelsome, both among themselves and other species. They do not breed in as large colonies as do the other Gulls, half a dozen pairs appropriating a small island to the exclusion of all other birds. They are very rapacious birds and live to a great extent, especially during the breeding season, upon the eggs and young of other birds such as Ducks, Murres and smaller Gulls. They place their nests upon the higher portions of sandy islands. They are made of grasses and seaweed. The three eggs are laid early in June; they are grayish or brownish, spotted with brown and lilac. Size 3x2.15. Data.- -South Labrador, June 21, 1884. Three eggs. Nest on a small island off the coast; of grasses and moss.

18. SLATY-BACKED GULL. Larus schistisagus.

Range. North Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

This Gull, which is similar to the Great Black-backed, but is smaller and has a lighter mantle, does not breed in any considerable numbers on the American side of the Pacific. It nests in June on some of the islands in Bering Sea and probably more commonly farther onrth. They often nest in company with other species, placing their small mounds of seaweed on the ground on the higher parts of the islands. The full set contains three eggs of grayish or brownish color, spotted with dark brown or black. Size 2.90 x 2. Data. Harrowby Bay, N. W. T. Canada, June 11, 1901. Nest of grass, roots and mud and lined with dry grass; on point making into the bay. Collector, Capt. H. H. Bodfish.

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THE BIRD BOOK

49. WESTERN GULL. Larus occidentalis.

Range. Pacific Coast, breeding from southern California to British Columbia.

This bird, which is the most southerly distributed of the larger Gulls is twenty-four inches in length. Mantle slate colored; primaries black, both these and the secondaries being broadly tipped with white. These Gulls nest abundantly on the Farallones, the majority of them showing a preference for the lower portions of the island, although they nest on the ledges also. Besides man, these Gulls are the greatest enemies that the Murres have to content against. They are always on the watch and if a Murre leaves its nest, one of the Gulls is nearly always ready to pounce upon the egg and carry it away bodily in his bill. The Gulls too suffer when the eggers come, for their eggs are gathered up with the Murres for the markets. They make their nests of weeds and grass, and during May and June lay three eggs showing the usual variations of color common to the Gulls eggs. Size 2.75 x 1.90.

[50.] SIBERIAN GULL. Larus affinis.

This bird does not nest in North America, and has a place on our list, by its accidental occurrence in Greenland. It is an Old World species and its nesting habits and eggs are like those of the Herring Gull.

51. HERRING GULL. Larus argentatus.

Range. Whole of the Northern Hemisphere,

breeding from Maine and British Columbia north ', ward and wintering south to the Gulf.

This Gull, which formerly was No. 51a, a subWestern Gull species of the European variety, is now regarded Herring Gull as identical with it, and is no longer a sub-species. It is twenty-four inches in length, has a light gray mantle and black primaries which are tipped with

white. The Herring , ^- "\-~ ~~^

Gulls nest in colonies *%. * ^. '

in favorable localities throughout their range, chiefly on the coasts and islands. A few pairs also nest on islands in some of the inland bodies of fresh water. Except in places where they are continually molested, when they will build in trees, they place their nests on the ground either making no riest on the bare sand, or building a bulky nest of seaweed in the grass on higher

parts of the island. Buff

They lay three eggs of

a grayish color marked with brown. In rare cases unspotted bluish white eggs are found. Size 2.8 x 1.7. 44

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

52. VEGA GULL Larus vegae.

Range. Coast of Alaska, south in winter to California.

Similar to the Herring Gull, but with the mantle darker, but not so dark as in the Western Gull. The nesting habits and eggs are the same as those of the Herring Gull, except that in a series, the eggs of the Vega will average a little darker in ground color. It nests during May on the coasts and islands of Bering Sea, placing its eggs in a hollow on the ground. Size 2.75 x 1.65.

Grayish brown

1 Gull

California Gull

53. CALIFORNIA GULL. Larus calif orni

Range. Western North America, breeding in til the interior. Kiim'-i>i:

A smaller Gull than the Herring with the primaries grayish instead of black; length twenty-five inches. This Gull is found in winter on the coast from British Columbia southward to Lower California, but nests in the interiar from Utah northward. They nest very abundantly around the Great Salt Lake, placing their nests generally upon the bare ground. Sometimes there is a scant lining of grasses or weeds and again the nests will be situated in the midst of a tussock of grass. Three or four eggs generally constitute a set, but occasionally five are laid. The usual nesting time is during May. They show the same great variations in color and markings common to most of the Gulls. Size 2.60 x 1.80.

51. RING-BILLED GULL. Larus delawarenis.

Range. Whole of North America, breeding from the United States northward and wintering south to the Gulf States.

A small Gull, eighteen inches in length, with a light gray mantle, black primaries with white tips, and always to be distinguished in the breeding season by the black band around the middle of the greenish yellow bill. They nest in enormous colonies on islands in the interior of the country and in smaller colonies on the coasts. Thousands of them breed on the lakes of the Dakotas and northward. The majority of them nest on the ground, although on the coast they are often found on the cliffs. They commonly lay three eggs placing them in a slight hollow in the ground, generally on the grassy portions of the islands. The color varies from grayish to brownish, marked with brown and lilac. The height of the nesting season is in June. Size of eggs, 2.80 x 1.75. 45

THE BIRD BOOK

55. SHORT-BILLED GULL. Larus brachyrhynchus.

Range. Breeds from the interior of British Columbia northward to Alaska; south in winter to Lower California.

The Short-billed or American Mew Gull is seventeen inches in length, has a short, stout bill and is otherwise similar to the preceding species. Nests on islands in the lakes and along the river banks of Alaska. The nest is made of grass, weeds and moss and is placed on the ground.

Pale greenish-brown

Early in June the birds lay their set of three eggs, the ground color of which is greenish brown marked with dark brown. Size 2.25 x 1.60. Data, Mackenzie River, N. W. T., June 13, 1900. Three eggs. Nest made of seaweed and grass and placed on the ground on an island in the river.

[56.] MEW GULL. Larus canus.

This is the European variety of the above species, breeding commonly both in the British Isles

and northern Europe. This species is given a place in our avifauna because

of its accidental appearance in Labrador.

Short-billed Gull

Heerman's Gull

57. HERRMAN'S GULL. Larus heermanni.

Range. Pacific Coast of North America from British Columbia south to Panama, breeding chiefly south of the United States border.

A very handsome species, often called the White-headed Gull, and wholly unlike any other; length seventeen inches. Adults, in summer, have the ntire head, neck and throat white, this shading quite abruptly into the slaty upper and upder parts; the primaries and tail are black, the latter and the secondaries being tipped with white. The legs and bill are vermilion. They are found off the coast of California, but are not believed to breed there. They are known to breed on some of the islands off the Mexican coast nesting on the ground the same as the other species. The three eggs are greenish drab in color and are marked with different shades of brown and lilac. Size 2.45 x 1.50.

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58. LAUGHING GULL. Lams atricilla.

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

Range. Eastern North America, breeding from the Gulf to Nova Scotia, chiefly on the coast. A beautiful Gull, 16 inches long, with a dark slate colored head, gray mantle, black

Pale grayish brown Laughing Gull

primaries, and white neck, underparts and tail. Bill and feet red. This bird has its name from its peculiar laughing cry when alarmed or angry; it is also called the Black-headed Gull. They nest by thousands on the islands off the Gulf Coast and along the South . -^

Atlantic States. The nest is placed on the ground and is made of seaweed. Three, four and sometimes five eggs are laid, of a grayish to greenish brown color, marked with brown and lilac. Size 2.25 x 1.60. Data. Timbalin Is., La., June 3, 1896. Three eggs. Nest of drift grass thrown in a pile about 8 inches high, slightly hollowed on top, in low marsh back of beach. Collector, E. A. McTlhenny. RING-BILLED GULL-Gray

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THE BIRD BOOK

59. FRANKLIN'S GULL.

Larus franklini.

Range. Interior North America, breeding from middle United States northward.

Like the last but smaller and with the primaries light. Underparts rosy in breeding season. Nests very abundantly in the marshes of Minnesota and northward. Nest made of grasses and

Franklin's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Grayish brown

placed in the marsh grass barely above the surface of the water. Eggs same color as the last but the markings more inclined to zigzag lines. Size 2.10 x 1.40. Data. Heron Lake, Minn., May 26, 1885. Nest of wet sedge stalks and rubbish placed in a bunch of standing sedge in shallow water; at least five thousand birds in rookery. Collector, J. W. Preston.

60. BONAPARTE'S GULL. Larus Philadelphia.

Range. Breeds in the northern parts of North America; winters from Maine

and British Columbia to the southern border of the United States.

Smaller than the last; 14 inches long. Plumage similar, but bill slender and black. They nest in great numbers on the marshes of Manitoba and to the northward. The nests, of sticks and grass, are placed on the higher parts of the marsh and the usual complement of three eggs is laid during the latter part of June. The eggs are grayish to greenish brown, marked with dark brown and lilac. Size 1.90 x 1.30.

Pale grayish brown

48

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

[60.1] LITTLE GULL. Larus minutus.

This Gull is the smallest of the family; it is a European bird, and has accidentally strayed to our shores but a few times. Its plumage is similar to that of the Bonaparte Gull but the bill is red. It breeds in the marshes around the Baltic Sea, placing its nest of dead vegetation on the highest parts of the marsh. They lay three eggs of a greenish gray color marked with dark brown and lilac. Size 1.75 x 1.25.

61. Ross GULL. Rhodostethia rosea. Range. The Arctic regions, south in winter

to Alaska, Greenland, northern Europe and Asia. This beautiful bird is the most rare of all the Gulls, being very difficult to obtain because of its extreme northerly distribution. It is in form and plumage like Bonaparte Gull, with the exceptions that the head is white, there being a narrow black collar around the neck, the tail is wedge shaped, and the whole under parts from the chin to the tail are rosy in the breeding plumage. The nests and eggs remain still undiscovered, although Nansen, in August 1896, found a supposed breeding ground in Franz Josef Land, because of the numbers of the birds, but found no nests.

62. SABINE'S GULL. Xema sabinii.

Range. Arctic regions, breeding from Alaska

and Greenland and northward, and wintering

south to New England. Sabine Gul1

A handsome bird, having the slaty hood bordered behind with a black ring, the primaries black, white tipped, and the tail slightly forked. They breed abundantly on the marshes of northern Alaska and Greenland, nesting the same as others of the species. The two or there eggs are laid in June. They are greenish brown in color and are marked with dark brown. Size 1.75 x 1.25. Data. Hudson Bay, August 1, 1894. Eggs laid on the ground in

Greenish brown the moss ; no nest except the hollow in the

moss.

Rose Gull

THE BIRD BOOK

63. GULL-BILLED TERN. Gelochelidon nilotica.

Range. Found in North America along the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic Coast north to Virginia and casually farther.

This is one of the largest of the Terns, is 14 inches long, has a short, thick, black bill and a short slightly forked tail; the crown is black, mantle pearly gray, white below. This species is very widely distributed, being found in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. They are known locally as "Marsh Terns" where they breed in immense numbers on some of the marshes about the Gulf, particularly in Texas. They also breed on many of the islands along the Coast, rarely making any nest, but laying the eggs in a hollow in the sand. They nest most abundantly in the latter part of May, generally laying three eggs. They are of a yellowish, grayish or greenish buff color and are spotted with brown and lilac. Size 1.80x1.30. Data. Northampton Co., Va., May 28, 1882. Three eggs laid on a mass of seaweed on marsh above tide water.

Pale greenish buff

64. CASPIAN TERN. Sterna caspia.

Range. Like the preceding species, this bird is nearly cosmopolitan in its range, in North America breeding from the Gulf Coast and Texas northward to the Arctic Regions.

This beautiful bird is the largest of the Tern family, being about 22 inches in length, with the tail forked about 1.5 inches. The bill is large, heavy and bright red; the crest, with which this and the next three species are adorned, is black. The mantle is pale -~^^

pearl and the under parts " * m

white. These Terns sometimes nest in large colonies and then again only a few pairs will be found on an island. In Texas, the breeding season commences in May, it being later in the more northern breeding grounds. They may be regarded as largely eastern birds, as while they are common in the interior of the country, they are rarely found on the Pacific Coast. Two or three eggs constitute a complete set; these are laid on Grayish buff the sand in a slight hollow scooped out by the birds. They vary from gray to greenish buff, marked with brown and lilac. Size 2.60 x 1.75. Data. Hat Island, Lake Michigan, July 1, 1896. No nest. Two eggs in a hollow in the gravel. Fully a thousand terns nesting on about one acre. Collector, Charles L. Cass.

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LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

65. ROYAL TERN. Sterna maxima.

Range. Temperate North and South America, breeding in the United States locally from Texas and the Gulf States northward to the northern boundary of the United States.

The Royal Terns nest in great numbers on the coasts and islands on the South Atlantic and Gulf States and in the marshes of southern Texas.

Grayish buff

Like the former species they lay two or three eggs in a hollow on the bare sand. The eggs are the same size but differ in being more pointed and having a lighter ground and with the markings more bold and distinct. Size 2.60 x 1.70.

66. ELEGANT TERN. Sterna elegans.

Range. Pacific Coast of South and Central America; north to California in summer.

A similar bird to the Royal Tern, but easilyGull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Royal Tern

Cream color

distinguished by its smaller size, slender bill, and more graceful form. In the breeding plumage the under parts of these Terns are tinged with rosy, which probably first gave the birds their name. They breed on the coasts and islands of Mexico and Central America, placing their eggs on the sand. They are believed to lay but a single egg, like that of the Royal Tern, but smaller. Size 2.40 x 1.40. Data. Honduras, Central America, June 5, 1899. Single egg laid on the sandy beach.

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THE BIRD BOOK

67. CABOT TERN. Sterna sandvicensis acuflavida.

Range. A tropical species breeding regularly north to the Bahamas and Florida; casually farther north. A beautiful bird distinguished from the three preceding ones by its smaller size (sixteen inches) and by the bill which is black

~-^;

Klegant Tern

Cabot's Tern

Cream color

with a yellow tip. They nest in colonies on the shores of islands in the West Indies and Bahamas, but not to a great extent on the United States Coast. Their two or three eggs have a creamy ground color, and are boldly marked with brown and black. Size 2.10 x 1.40.

[68.] TRUDEAU'S TERN. Sterna trudeaui.

Range. South America; accidentally along the coast of the United States.

A rare and unique species with a form similar to the following, but with the coloration entirely different. About fifteen inches in length; tail long and deeply forked; bill yellow with a band of black about the middle. Whole head pure white, shading into the pearly color of the upper and under parts. A narrow band of black through the eye and over the ear coverts. A very rare species that is supposed to breed in southern South America. Given a place among North American birds on the strength of a specimen seen by Audubon off Long Island.

52

LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

69- FORSTER'S TERN. Sterna forsteri.

Range. Temperate North America, breeding from Manitoba, Mass., and California, south to the Gulf Coast and Texas.

Length about fifteen inches; tail long and deeply forked; crown black, back and wings pearl and under parts white. Bill orange red. This species and the three following are the most graceful of birds in appearance and flight. Their move

Forsters Tern

Common Tern

Eggs in a hollow on grassy

Brownish buff

ments can only be likened to those of the Swallows, from which they get the name of "Sea Swallows." Their food consists of fish, which they get by diving, and marine insects. They breed by thousands in the marshes from Manitoba to Texas and along the South Atlantic coast. The eggs are laid in a hollow on the dry grassy portions of the islands or marshes. They generally lay three eggs and rarely four. They are buffy or brownish spotted with dark brown and lilac. Size 1.80 x 1.30. Data. Cobb's Island, Va., June 8, 1887, bank. Collector, F. H. Judson.

70. COMMON TERN. Sterna hirundo.

Range. Eastern North America, breeding both on the coast and in the interior from the Gulf States northward.

This bird differs from the preceding chiefly in having a bright red bill tipped with black, and the under parts washed with pearl. These are the most common Terns on the New England coast, nesting abundantly from Virginia to Newfoundland. These beautiful Terns, together with others of the family, were formerly killed by thousands for millinery purposes, but the practice is now being rapidly stopped. In May and June they lay their three, or sometimes four eggs on the ground as do the other Terns. They are similar to the preceding species but average shorter. Data. Duck Is., Maine, June 30, 1896. Three eggs in marsh grass about fifty feet from beach. No nest. Collector, C. A. Reed.

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I

Buff

THE BIRD BOOK

71. ARCTIC TERN.

Sterna paradisaea.

Range. Northern Hemisphere, breeding from New England northward to the Arctic Regions and wintering south to California and the South Atlantic States. A similar bird to the last, differing in having the bill wholly red and the feet being smaller and weak for the size of the bird. A more northern bird than the last, breeding abundantly in Alaska, both on the coast and in the interior. In the southern limits of its breeding range, it nests in company with the Common Tern, its nests and eggs being indistinguishable from the latter. When their nesting grounds are approached, all the birds arise like a great white clour, uttering their harsh, discordant "tearrr, tearrr," while now and then an individual, bolder than the rest, will swoop close by with an angry "crack." On the whole they are timid birds, keeping well out of reach. The nesting season is early in June. Eggs like the preceding. Data. Little Duck Is., Me., June 29, 1896. Three eggs in a slight hollow on the beach, three feet above high water mark.

72. ROSEATE TERN. Sterna dougalli.

Range. Temperate North America on the east coast, breeding from New England to the Gulf.

These are the most beautiful birds, having a delicate pink blush on the under parts during

^

Arctic Tern

Roseate Tern Aleutian Tern

Grayish or Brownish

the breeding season; the tail is very long and deeply forked, the outer feathers being over five inches longer than the middle ones; the bill is red with a black tip. They nest in large colonies on the islands from Southern New England southward, placing the nests in the short grass, generally without any lining. They lay two or three eggs which are indistinguishable from the two preceding species.

73. ALEUTIAN TERN. Sterna aleutica.

Range. Found in summer in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

South in winter to Japan. This handsome Tern is of the form and size of the Common Tern, but has a darker mantle, and the forehead is white, leaving a black line from the bill to the eye. They nest on islands off the coast of Alaska, sometimes together with the Arctic Tern. The eggs are laid upon the bare ground or moss, and are similar to the Arctic Terns, but average narrower. They are two or three in number and are laid in June and July. Size 1.70 x 1.15. Data. Stuart Is., Alaska. Three eggs in a slight hollow in the moss.

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LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

74. LEAST TERN. Sterna antillarum.

Range. From northern South America to southern New England, Dakota and California, breeding locally throughout its range.

These little Sea Swallows are the smallest of the Terns, being but 9 inches in length. They have a yellow bill with a black tip, a black crown and nape, and white forehead. Although small, these little Terns lose none of the grace and beauty of action of their larger relatives. They nest

Least Tern

Sooty Tern

Light buff

in colonies on the South Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, placing their eggs upon the bare sand, where they are sometimes very difficult to see among the shells and pebbles. They are of a grayish or buffy color spotted with umber and lilac. They number two, three and rarely four, and are laid in May and June. Size 1.25 x .95. Data. DeSota Beach, Fla., May 20, 1884. Three eggs laid on the sandy beach. Collector, Chas. Graham.

75. SOOTY TERN. Sterna fuscata.

Range. Tropical America, north to the South Atlantic States. This species measures 17 inches in length; it has a brownish black mantle, wings and tail, except the outer feathers of the latter which are white; the forehead and under parts are white, the crown and a line from the eye to the bill, black.

This tropical species is very numerous at

its breeding grounds on the small islands

of the Florida Keys and the West Indies.

They lay but a single egg, generally plac ing it on the bare ground, or occasionally

building a frail nest of grasses. The egg

has a pinkish white or creamy ground

and is beautifully sprinkled with spots of

reddish brown and lilac. They are laid

during May. Size 2.05 x 1.45. Data.

Clutheria Key, Bahamas, May 28, 1891.

Single egg laid on bare ground near water.

Collector, D. P. Ingraham.

/" ^ *** \x

Creamy white

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THE BIRD BOOK

[76.] BRIDLED TERN. Sterna anaetheta.

Range. Found in tropical regions of both hemispheres; casual or accidental in Florida. This Tern is similar to the last except that the nape is white and the white of the forehead extends in a line over the eye. The Bridled Tern is common on some of the islands of the West Indies and the Bahamas, nesting in company with the

OS,

Creamy white

Sooty Terns and Noddies. The single egg is laid on the seashore or among the rocks. It is creamy white beautifully marked with brown and lilac. Size 1.85x1.25. Data. Bahamas, May 9, 1892. Single egg laid in a cavity among the rocks. Collector, D. P. Ingraham.

77- BLACK TERN. Hydrochelidon nigra surinamensis.

Black Tern

Noddy Black Skimmer

V ~ V

Range. Temperate America, breeding from the middle portions of the United States northward to Alaska; south in winter Beyond the United States Border.

The identity of these Terns cannot be mistaken They are but ten inches in length; the whole head, neck and under parts are black; the back, wings and tail are slaty and the under tail coverts are white. Their dainty figure with their long slender wings gives them a grace and airiness, if possible, superior to other species of the family. They are very active and besides feeding upon all manner of marine Crustacea, they capture many insects in the air. They nest in large colonies in marshes, both along the coast and in the interior, making a nest of decayed reeds and grasses, or often laying their eggs upon rafts of decayed vegetation which are floating on he water. The nesting season commences in May, they laying three eggs of a brownish or greenish color, very heavily blotched with blackish brown. Size 1.35 x .95. Data. Winnebago City, Minn., May 31, 1901. Three eggs. Nest

made of a mass of weeds and rushes floating on Deep greenish brown water in a swamp. Collector, R. H. Bullis.

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LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS

[78.] WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN. Hydrochelidon leucoptera.

Range. Eastern Hemisphere, its addition to American birds being made because of the accidental appearance of one bird in Wisconsin in 1873. They lest very abundantly among the lakes and marshes

Greenish buff

of southern Europe, placing their eggs the same as the American spe- &*-.- * cies, upon masses of decayed reeds v " and stalks. They lay three eggs which have a somewhat brighter appearance than the common Black Terns because of a somewhat lighter ground color.

79. NODDY. Anous stolidus.

Range. Tropical America, north to the Gulf and South Atlantic States, A peculiar but handsome bird (about fifteen inches long), with a silvery white head and the rest of the plumage brownish, and the tail rounded. They breed in abundance on some of the Florida Keys, the West Indies and the Bahamas. Their nests are made of sticks and grass, and are placed either in trees or on the ground. They lay but a single egg with a buffy or cream colored ground spotted with chestnut and lilac. Size 2.00 x 1.30. Atwood's Key, Bahamas, June 1, 1891. Nest made of sticks and grasses, three feet up a mangrove. Collector, D. P. Ingraham.

Buff

Noddy

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THE BIRD BOOK