Sterna melanogastra, Tem.
987.- S. javanica, Hors. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 840 ; Butler, Deccan ; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p, 440; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 323 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 138.
THE BLACK-BELLIED TERN.
Length, 12 ; expanse, 26 ; wing, 9 ; tail, 6; tarsus, 1 ; bill at front, 1.48.
Bill orange-yellow; irides brown; legs and feet vermilion red.
Head and nape black ; neck, mantle, wings and tail, light-grey ; face, lores and ear-coverts, white ; chin and throat white ; neck and breast light pearl-grey ; abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts brown-black.
In winter plumage the head is mixed with dusky, and the abdomen is pearly-grey instead of black.
The Black-bellied Tern is a more or less common permanent resident throughout the region. Major Butler does not appear to have met with it in Northern Guzerat, but I cannot help thinking that he has passed over it. They breed during March and April, depositing their eggs in mere depressions in the sand, close to the water. The eggs, three or four in number, are moderately oval in shape, of a buffy ground color, spotted and streaked with purplish-brown. They measure 1.33 by 0.99.