Sterna anaethetus   Scopoli,  1786 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Size: 30-32 cm.

Voice: Shrill krek, krek.

Adult: Sexes alike. A medium-sized sea tern with dark greyish brown mantle, wings and tail, and white underparts, white forehead and supercilliary region, black crown, nape and a stripe from lores to behind eye, aptly known as Bridled Tern from its face markings. In flight, white leading edges of upper wings conspicuous. Juvenile: With greyish-white crown, dark mask, white forehead and supercilium, and brownish patch on sides of breast.

Habits: Often seen in flocks with other seabirds over shoals of fish, dips down to pick fish and plankton from the surface. The species inhabits offshore tropical and subtropical seas.

Breeding- It breeds on the periphery of vegetated coastal and continental coral, rock or rubble islands and beaches, volcanic stacks and exposed reefs, foraging inshore and up to 50 km offshore (although mostly within 15 km of land) and feeding from the surface of the water or up to 20 cm below it. Non-breeding- Away from the breeding grounds the species is entirely pelagic and often associates with patches of macroalgae (e.g. Sargassum spp.) or flotsam which it uses for perching. Its marine distribution is therefore linked to small- and medium-scale oceanographic features where water circulation aggregates such floating matter into patches. Breeding site- The nest is a scrape or depression in shingle or sand that may be freshly excavated or re-used from a previous season. Nests are placed in a variety of concealed locations around the rim of oceanic islands, including natural cavities amongst rocks or coral rubble, in vegetation (up to 75 % ground cover), in a crevice or cave up to 1.5 m deep, under a cliff ledge or on the ground beneath low bushes or shrubs. The species is not strictly colonial but solitary pairs usually congregate in suitable habitats with neighbouring nests spaced according to nest-site availability (usually 1-5 m apart, minimum 30 cm).

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Brownwinged Tern (English)
• Bridled Tern (English)
• Badami pankh vabagali (Gujrati)
• Bridled Tern (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Eggs are harvested for subsistence in the Bahamas and the West Indies, and eggs and chicks are harvested on some islands in the Pacific by local residents and coastal shipping crews.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species is vulnerable to the effects of oil spills and is highly vulnerable to the accidental introduction of domestic cats Felis catus to offshore breeding islands. It has also been known to abandon breeding colonies when subject to severe human disturbance (although at sites exposed to long-term visitation it may become habituated to continuous and predictable human presence and activity) )

Habitat:  Open Sea, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous, mainly fish also insects and crustaceans
Predator:  domestic cat introduce at breeding island
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Maharashtra, Vengurla Rocks INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Goa, Chapora INDIA (Record: 25/09/1988)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Bangaram INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Tinnakara INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kadamatt INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Suheli INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Andrott INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Gujarat INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Tikader, BK (1984) Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Island ZSI, Kolkata 1-167 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Hoogstraal, H and Bafort, JM (1982) Ticks of Saudi Arabia. Ornithodoros (Alectorobius) muesebecki (Acarina: fam. Argasidae) parasitizing marine birds in the Arabian Gulf, Saudi Arabia Fauna of Saudi Arabia 4 23-28 Available at - ZOOR11900058751
  • 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
  • PBase 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 -
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Mohan, RSL (1989) Some observations on the marine mammals and marine birds Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 195-199 Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Avibase- the world database Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-11

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