1496. Hydrochelidon hybrida.
The Whiskered Tern.
Sterna hybrida, Pallas, Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p.338 (1811); Hume S. F. i, p. 281; Adam, ibid. p. 403; Oates, S. F. iii, p. 348; id in, Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 305. Sterna leucopareia, Natt. in Temm. Man. d'Orn. ed. 2e, ii, p. 746 (1820); A. Anderson, Ibis, 1872, p. 81. Viralva indica, Steph. in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii, pt. 1, p. 169 (1825). Hydrochelidon indica, Blyth, Cat. p. 290; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 837 ; King, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 218 ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 275 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 256; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 301; Hume, N. & E. p. 648 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 32 ; v, p. 235 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 233. Hydrochelidon hybrida, Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 491; Davids. & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 93 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 313 ; Hume, Cat. no. 984; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 996 ; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 440; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 102; Scully, ibid. p. 594 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 86; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 419; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 427; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 350; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 135 ; Saunders, Cat. B. M. xxv, p. 10. Sterna innotata, Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 404; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 224.
The Small Marsh-Tern, Jerdon.
Coloration in winter. Forehead, sides of head below eyes, sides of neck, and all lower parts including wing-lining white; crown greyish white, with black centres to the feathers, the black increasing on the nape and sometimes almost covering it, and forming a band behind the eye; a black spot in front of the eye and some black specks on the lores; behind the nape is more or less of a white collar; all the* upper parts from the neck, including the rump and tail, light ashy grey ; primaries darker and brown, except on the outer webs in fresh plumage.
In summer the forehead, crown, and nape, with the sides of the head down to the lower edge of each orbit, are black ; gape and a streak from it to the nape white ; upper parts ashy, darker than in winter ; chin, throat, vent, and under tail-coverts white; fore-neck and breast dark grey, passing into sooty black on the abdomen.
Young birds have the crown and mantle partly or wholly blackish brown, with rufous edges to the feathers.
Bill red; irides brown ; legs and toes dull red (Oates). The bill and legs are a darker red in winter than in summer.
Length 10; tail 3.1 ; wing 9 ; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. Temperate parts of Europe, the whole of Africa, Southern Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and Australia. In India, Ceylon, and Burma this is one of the commonest Terns, especially in Northern India, where it is resident and breeds, but many of the birds seen in India in the cold season probably breed farther north. Great numbers make their nests on the lakes of Kashmir.
Habits, &c. The Whiskered Tern in India abounds about marshes, tanks, rivers, and paddy fields, it is also found about estuaries in Burma. It breeds not on churs, as Jerdon thought, but amongst rushes or on floating water-plants in large marshy lakes. The nest is large, roughly made of reeds or straw, and the eggs, usually three in number, measure about 1.51 by 1.09, and are pale olive or greenish, doubly spotted with purplish grey and brown. The eggs have been taken in Kashmir and the N.W. Provinces in the months of June, July, and August.