1513. Sterna anaestheta

1513. Sterna anaestheta.

The Panayan Tern.

Sterna anaestheta *, Scopoli, Del. Faun, et Flor. Insubr. ii, p. 92 (1783); Legge, S. F. iii, p. 377; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 474; Butler, S. F. v, p. 301; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 493; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 178 ; Hume, Cat, no. 992 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1040; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 441 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 431 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 433; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 300; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 300; Aitken, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. ix, p. 496; Saunders, Cat. B. M. xxv, p. 101. Sterna panayensis, Gm. Syst. Mat, i, p. 607 (1788). Onychoprion anasthaetus, Blyth, Cat. p. 293; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 844; Ball, S. F. i, p. 90; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 320.

The Brown-winged Tern, Jerdon.

Coloration. Forehead and superciliary stripe extending beyond orbit white; crown, nape, and loral stripe, extending to the bill and just including the orbit, black; hind neck light grey; back, wings, rump, and tail dark greyish brown, basal three-fourths of long outer pair of rectrices and their outer edges to the tip white ; primaries blackish brown, portions of inner webs whitish ; cheeks and lower parts white; breast, abdomen, and flanks more or less suffused with grey, often tinged pinkish.

In winter the upper plumage is browner and less grey, and the feathers of the crown and lores are dark brown with pale edges. Thi3 phase apparently lasts but a short time. Young birds have the crown-feathers white with dark' shaft-streaks, the nape blackish, the lores white with black specks, and the feathers of the upper parts with rufous or whitish edges.

Bill, legs, and feet black; irides deep brown (Hume).

Length 14.5; tail 6 to 7.5, depth of fork 3 to 4; wing 9.5; tarsus .8 ; bill from gape 2.

Distribution. Tropical and subtropical seas. This Tern is generally distributed on the Indian, Ceylonese, and Burmese coasts, abounding at times on the reefs of the Laccadives, and breeding at Vingorla Bocks and in the Persian Gulf.

Habits, &c. This and the next species approach the Noddies in colour and habits, and are Oceanic Terns, being often seen far from land, especially around oceanic islands. Frequently flocks of this bird make their appearance on shore after high winds, and this is the Tern, as Hume notices, that commonly alights on ships to roost at night. It feeds on whatever can be picked up from the sea, chiefly small fish and crustaceans. Hume, in February, found numerous rotten and addled eggs and dried carcases of this bird on the Vingorla Rocks, showing that it must have bred there in great numbers in the monsoon. It lays usually a single whitish, rather finely spotted egg, sometimes two, measuring about 1.72 by 1.2, and makes a small hollow for its nest amongst grass.

* This name is variously spelt anaethetus, anaetheta, anosthaetus, anaethetus, &c.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
1513. Sterna anaestheta
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Panayan Tern
Bridled Tern
Onychoprion anaethetus
Vol. 4

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