1112. Whiskered Tern.
Hydrochelidon hybrida (Pall.), Zoogr. Ross. As. ii. p. 338 (1811) ; Dresser, viii. p. 315, pls. 588, 589 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 524 ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 10 ; id. Manual, p. 537 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 307 ; Lilford, vi. p. 5, pl. 3 ; H. leucopareia (Natterer), in Temm. Man. d’Orn, ii. p. 746 (1820) ; (Gould), B. of E. v. pl. 424 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 77 ; (Naum.), x. p. 168, Taf. 255 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 483, pl. cxxxiv. fig. 2 ; Ridgway, p. 47 ; H. fluviatilis, Gould, P.Z.S. 1842, p. 140 ; id. B. of Austral, viii. pl. 31
Hirondelle de mer moustac, French ; Paino mayor, Span. ; Mignattino bigio, Ital. ; Weissbartige Seeschwalbe, German ; Mershik, Moor.
Male ad. (S. Spain). Crown and nape glossy black ; upper parts and tail slate-grey, rather darker on the primaries ; outermost tail-feathers with the outer web white ; a white streak from the gape to the nape ; chin white, throat grey, darker on the breast, and becoming black on the abdomen and flanks ; under wing- and tail-coverts white ; bill and legs blood-red ; iris dark brown. Culmen 1.45, wing 9.2, tail 3.4. outer tail- feathers 0.7 longer than the middle ones, tarsus 0.9 inch. Sexes alike. In winter the forehead and fore crown are white, the rest of the crown, nape, and hind neck black marked with white, the upper parts paler than in summer, and the under parts white. The young bird is similar, but has the upper parts blotched with blackish.
Hab. Southern, South-western, and Central Europe ; a rare straggler to North Germany and Britain ; Africa south to the Cape in winter ; temperate Asia east to China ; Burma, India, and Ceylon, passing south in winter through the Malay Archipelago to Australia ; has once been recorded from Barbadoes.
Frequents marshes and inland waters in preference to the sea coasts, and in general habits resembles its allies. It feeds on small fish, caterpillars, aquatic insects of various kinds, leeches, and dragon-flies. It breeds in marshes, in tolerably large colonies, building a somewhat large but clumsy nest of aquatic plants, which is placed on the herbage on the surface of the water, and lays 2 or 3 eggs, which vary in ground-colour from greyish buff or stone-buff to pale greenish or greenish grey, and are marked with purplish grey shell blotches, and blackish brown surface spots and blotches ; in size they measure about 15.2 by 1.12.
1112. Hydrochelidon hybrida
1112. Whiskered Tern.