Sterna bergii   (Lichtenstein,  1823) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Trevor Quested

Size: 46-49 cm; Length 46-50 cm.

Color: Above, dark grey tail, rump, wings and back with white leading and trailing edges to spread wing; white collar on hindneck; crest and crown black; clearly demarcated forehead white (white speckling on forecrown in non-breeding bird); underparts white. Immature above dark brownish black with white edges to feathers. Bare parts: iris dark brown; bill yellow or geenish yellow; feet and legs black sometimes with yellow soles.

Voice: Loud clamouring in typical cherrak....

Habits: Oftern found scouting for food in loose mixed flocks with Lesser Crested Tern, flies steadily above the water, occasionally hovering, then plunging into water to capture fish.

Adult: Sexes alike, large tern with black crown, nuchal crest and legs, bill lemon yellow. Breeding (summer): White band across lores and forehead, crown down to eyes, nape and prominent nuchal crest velvety black, bill lime green, neck and underparts white, primaries blackish, tail greyish white. Non-breeding (winter): Nape band streaked, upper parts with grey brown in patches, bill greenish yellow. Juveniles: Upperparts brownish grey with four dark bars across upperwing.

Breeding season: The species breeds in large dense colonies, or in small groups of less than 10 pairs amidst colonies of other species (e.g. King Gull Larus hartlaubii or Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae). It usually forages singly or in small groups but several hundred individuals may gather at roost sites. Nest- The nest is a shallow scrape in bare sand, rock or coral in flat open sites on offshore islands low-lying coral reefs, sandy or rocky coastal islets, coastal spits, lagoon mudflats or islets in saltpans and sewage works. The species nests in dense colonies with neighbouring nests very close together (rims may be touching) and usually forages within 3 km of the breeding colony.

Synonym (s)
Thalasseus bergii (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Thalasseus bergii bergii (Christidis and Boles 2008)

Common Name (s)
• Large Crested Tern (English)
• Great Crested Tern (English)
• swift tern (English)
• greater crested tern (English)
• Chotili dariai dhomdi, (Gujrati)
• Periya kondai aala (Tamil)
• Tharathassi
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species is vulnerable to human disturbance (e.g. tourism) at breeding colonies on offshore islands which can lead to nest desertion . The species is also threatened by injury and mortality from entanglement with baited hooks, fishing lines, nets and human refuse (e.g. plastic bags). Utilisation Most breeding colonies of this species are subject to subsistence egg collecting.)
Threats:  Natural threats
(Increased predation of eggs and nestlings by gulls and ibises)
Importance:  Commercial
(eggs are collected by local people)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Rocky, Sandy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Chiefly fish and prawns.
Predator:  gulls and ibises
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Maharashtra, Vengurla Rocks INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• West Bengal, Sundarbans INDIA
• Goa, Chapora estuary INDIA (Record: 13/04/1982)
• Goa, Terekhol INDIA
• Goa, Mandrem INDIA
• Goa, Morjim INDIA
• Goa, Chapora INDIA
• Goa, Anjuna INDIA
• Goa, Baga INDIA
• Goa, Fort Aguada INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• 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
• 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, Kalpeni INDIA (Record: 01/1987-04/1987)
• Kerela, Kuttanad wetlands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Point Calimere (Lat: 10.3) (Long: 79.85) 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 -
  • 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
  • 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 -
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp 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
  • 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 -
  • Lal Mohan RS (1986) Birds and Bird Catchers Of Ramanathapuram Coast Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp 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 -
  • Lal Mohan RS (1986) Birds and Bird Catchers Of Ramanathapuram Coast 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 -
  • 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 -

Page last updated on:2012-06-26

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