White Tern (Gygis alba) - Wiki
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[Photo] Gygis alba (English: White Tern, Fran??ais : Gygis blanche) on a mapou tree (Pisonia grandis) on ??le aux Cocos (Rodrigues island). Date OCT 2006. Author B.navez http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:B.navez
The White Tern (Gygis alba) is a small seabird found across the tropical oceans of the world. Sometimes known as the Fairy Tern (but not the Fairy Tern, Sternula nereis), this small tern is famous for laying its egg on bare thin branches in a small fork or depression without a nest. This balancing act is a predator-avoidance behaviour as the branches they choose are too small for rats or even small lizards to climb. Safe from predators, but still vulnerable to strong winds, the White Terns are also quick to relay should they lose the egg. The newly hatched chicks have well developed feet to hang on to their precarious nesting site with. It is a long-lived bird, having been recorded living for 17 years.
The White Tern is a small, all white tern with a long black bill, related to the noddies. It ranges widely across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and also nests in some Atlantic islands. It nests on coral islands, usually on trees with thin branches but also on rocky ledges and on man-made structures. The White Tern feeds on small fish which it catches by plunge diving.
The White Tern is not considered threatened as it is a wide-spread species with several large colonies around the world.
The White Tern, manu-o-Ku, was named Honolulu, Hawai??i's official bird on April 2, 2007.
The White Tern has four subspecies: the nominate race G. a. alba, G. a. leucopes, the Pacific White Tern (G. a. candida) and the Little White Tern or Little Fairy Tern (G. a. microrhyncha). The Little White Tern is often listed as a distinct species (Gygis microrhyncha).
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