Chlidonias hybrida   (Pallas,  1811) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: pbase

Size: 23 cm.

Voice: Sharp grating kirreak-kirreak...kerk-kerk.

Habits: Gregarious, often feeds in flocks, mostly forages for insects by capturing them from surface, sometimes plunges for fish.

Adult: Sexes alike. A silvery-grey and white bird with long narrow pointed wings (tips projecting beyond tail) and short red legs. Non-breeding (winter): Forehead white with black streaks, head and nape black, plumage pale ashy, bill and legs blackish. Breeding (summer): Crown down to eyes and nape black with contrasting snow-white cheeks ('whiskers'), belly black, bill and legs dark red. Juvenile: Streaked brown and white.

Breeding season: The species breeds from May to early-June in monospecific colonies of 10-100 pairs. After breeding it departs for the wintering grounds from late-July to September, returning again between April and May. Nest- The nest is a heap of aquatic vegetation or dry grass placed either on floating and emergent vegetation over water 60-80 cm deep or resting on the bottom of very shallow water. The species nests in colonies, neighbouring pairs spaced between 1 and 5 m apart and may forage up to 9 km away from breeding sites (more usually within 1 km)

Synonym (s)
Chlidonias hybridus (Pallas, 1811)

Common Name (s)
• Whiskered Tern (English)
• Kadalkakka (Malayalam)
• Tamramukh surya (Marathi)
• Kashmiri vabagali (Gujrati)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Large numbers of eggs are collected for sale and local consumption in India and fishermen collect eggs in Ukraine.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Large numbers of eggs are collected for sale and local consumption in India (this may be causing population declines in some areas))
Threats:  Natural threats
(The species suffers nest destruction from the invasive rodent species Myocastor coypus in Italy)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous, comprising fish, tadpoles, crabs and odonata larvae.
Predator:  rodent species Myocastor coypus
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Goa, Agarwaddo marshes INDIA (Record: 07/09/1984)
• Goa, Chapora Estuary INDIA
• Goa, Anjuna INDIA
• Goa, Zuari Estuary INDIA
• Goa, Santa Cruz Creek INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 2003, 2008)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Point Calimere (Lat: 10.3) (Long: 79.85) INDIA
• Kerela, Kuttanad wetlands INDIA
• Orissa, Chilika Lake (Lat: 19.9) (Long: 85.1) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) 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
  • P.B.P.F. Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Narayanan SP, Thomas AP and Sreekumar B (2011) Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4) 1663–1676 Available at -
  • 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 -
  • Balchandran S, Rahmani AR and Sathiyaselvam P (2005) Habitat evaluation of Chilka lake with special reference to birds as bio-indicators Bombay Natural History Society 140pp Available at -
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-11

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