Sterna sumatrana   Raffles,  1822 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Dr Graeme Guy

Size: 35 cm; Length 34-37 cm.

Color: Above very pale grey; below white; tail grey with white outer tail feathers; head white with black from nape around sides of head through eyes; outer primary black. Immature brownish with darker grey mottling on back, black patch on hindneck. Bare parts: iris brown; bill black with yellow tip; feet and legs black with pink soles.

Voice: Less lound and harsh, sharp kick.

Habits: Forages in flocks and prefers shallow inshore waters, feeds by plunging from the surface.

Adult: Sexes alike. A pale greyish-white tern with black nuchal band, bill and legs. Breeding (summer): Bill black, occasionally with yellow tip, a black band commencing in front of eye and encircling the sides of head and nape (the black nuchal band), remaining head white, and legs black. Non-breeding (winter): Nuchal band black, narrower and less prominent. Juvenile: Bill slightly paler black than adult, looks shorter and thicker, nape dark chocolate-brown, mantle, scapulars, tertials and wing-coverts with blackish sub-terminal bars.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Black Naped Tern (English)
• black-naped tern (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous, chiefly fish.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North Reef Island 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
  • 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
  • Rao, GC; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1994) A faunal exploration of the North Reef Island sanctuary, North Andaman Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 10(1&2) 68-81 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-02-14

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