Sterna aurantia   Gray,  1831 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Birds and birding in India

Size: 38-46 cm.

Voice: High pitched and melodious kiuk-kiuk.

Habits: Generally solitary, also found in twos and threes, flies in flocks up and down rivers and lakes for foraging, feeds by plunging from a height with wings pulled in, roots at night on sandbanks. Breeds in colonies from November to August, varying locally, nest a shallow depression on bare sand and rock, also islets in rivers.

Adult: Sexes alike. A fluviatile pale grey and white bird with pointed bright yellow bill, deeply forked'swallow' tail, and short red legs. Non-breeding (winter): Head dull grey with streaks, bill duller with black tip. Breeding (summer): Forehead, crown and nape down to below eyes glossy jet-black, a horizontal crescent white patch below eyes, upperparts blue-grey, underparts white. Juvenile: With white forehead and broad supercilium, buffy white edged and blackish sub edged upperparts.

Nesting: Season- chiefly March to May. Eggs- 3, greenish grey to buffy stone bloched and streaked with brown and inky purple. Laid on bare ground on sandbanks of large rivers in colonies.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• River Tern (English)
• Tehari (Hindi)
• Koorri (Hindi)
• Indian River Tern (English)
• Puzha ala (Malayalam)
• Ramadasu (Telugu)
• Kulathu aala (Tamil)
• Nadi suray (Marathi)
• Samanya dhomdi (Gujrati)
• Nadi kurri (Sanskrit)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Natural threats
(Nesting areas are vulnerable to flooding and predation. )
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Human disturbance and also its habitat may be threatened by the construction of dams. )

Habitat:  Estuarine
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous (frogs, fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects).
IUCN Status:  NearThreatened


• Goa, Chapora estuary INDIA (Record: 18/09/1988)
• Goa, Mandovi INDIA
• Goa, Zuari river INDIA
• Goa, Divar INDIA
• Goa, Chorao INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Orissa, Dhamra Port INDIA
• West Bengal, Bangaon, Ichhamati River INDIA
• Haryana, Kurukshetra INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Point Calimere (Lat: 10.3) (Long: 79.85) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ali, S (1977) The book of Indian birds Bombay Natural History Society 175 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Birding in India and South Asia Available at -
  • Chadha, S and Sekar, KC (1999) Bhitarkanika:myth and reality Nataraj publishers, Dehra Dun Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Dutta, SK (2007) Biodiversity assessment of Dhamra port site and surrounding areas, Orissa Greenpeace India 4-38 Available at -
  • Das, SR and Nandi, NC (2004) Oxbow lake environment and management of Ichhamati river basin, West Bengal Journal of Environment and Sociobiology Social Environmental and Biological Association, Kolkata, India 1(1&2) 81-90 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Srinivasulu, C (2004) Birds of kawal wildlife sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh , India Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 101(1) 3-25 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar P and Gupta SK (2009) Diversity and Abundance of Wetland Birds around Kurukshetra, India Our Nature 7 212-217 Available at -
  • Gupta RC, Kaushik TK and Gupta PK (2012) WINTER MIGRATORY WETLAND BIRDS IN HARYANA ARE CONFRONTING ADVERSE CONDITIONS IN RURAL PONDS Resulting in reduction in arrival number: A case study of village Amin in Thanesar block in Kurukshetra district Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences 2 (1) 7pp Available at -
  • Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent ENVIS Newsletter: Avian Ecology and Inland Wetland 55pp Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Lal Mohan RS (1986) Birds and Bird Catchers Of Ramanathapuram Coast Available at -
  • Whistler, H (1949) Popular handbook of Indian Birds Gurney and Jackson 542pp Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-06-26

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