1512. Sterna melanauchen.
The Black-naped Tern.
Sterna melanauchen, Temm. PI, Col. pi. 427 (1827); Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 873; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 429; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 302; Saunders, Cat. B. M. xxv, p. 126. Hydrochelidon marginata, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 373; id. Ibis, 1865, p. 40. Onychoprion melanauchen, Blyth, Cat. p. 293; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 844; Blair, Ibis, 1866, p. 221; Ball, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, pp. 34, 243 ; Walden, Ibis, 1874, p. 149. Sternula melanauchen, Hume, S. F. ii, p. 319. Sterna sumatrana?, Raffl., Hume, S. F. v, p. 325; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 493; Hume, Cat. na. 991.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and most of the lores white ; a broad black nuchal band, forming a slight crest at the nape, is continued forward to the eyes, and in front of each of these is a narrow black band terminating in a point and not reaching the bill; a broad white collar behind the nape: remainder of upper parts very pale pearl-grey ; outer rectrices white; inner borders of quills the same, outer web of 1st primary blackish; cheeks and lower parts white with a roseate tinge.
In winter plumage there is rather less black on the nuchal and ocular band. In young birds the black of the nape is brownish, there is a dark band on the smaller wing-coverts, and the outer primaries are dark grey on both sides of the shafts. In still younger birds there are concentric brown bars on the mantle and tail-feathers, and brown tips to the feathers of the crown.
Bill black, the extreme points of both mandibles pale yellowish horny ; irides wood-brown ; feet black (Hume).
Length 13.5, tail 6 ; depth of fork 3; wing 8.5; tarsus .7; bill from gape 2.
Distribution. Chiefly insular, throughout the tropical parts of the Indian Ocean, the Malay Archipelago, and North Australia; north to the Loo-choo Islands, and east to the Friendly and Navigator Groups. This Tern is common at the Andamans and Nicobars, and is occasionally obtained on the Burmese coast.
Habits, &c. An oceanic Tern, keeping much to the high seas near tropical islands. It breeds at both the Andamans and Nicobars, on little rocky islets, between the middle of May and the beginning of August, and lays two eggs—yellowish, pinkish, or greenish, and double-spotted—on coral or sand ; the eggs measure 1.56 by 1.12 on an average.