1117. ALLIED TERN.
Sterna media, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii. p. 198 (1820) ; Dresser, viii. p. 285, pl. 583 ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 86 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 313 ; S. affinis, Cretzschm, in Rupp. Atlas, p. 23. Tab. 14 (1826) ; S. bengalensis, Lesson, Traite d’Orn, p. 621 (1831) ; S. torresii, Gould, P.Z.S. 1842, p. 140 ; id. B. of Austral, vii. pl. 25.
Male ad. (Egypt). Crown and nape deep black, the nuchal feathers elongated ; neck, fore back, chin, throat, and under parts white ; mantle ashy grey ; rump and tail pearly ash-grey, the outermost tail-feathers white ; quills hoary grey on the outer web, the inner web blackish near the shaft and tip, otherwise white ; bill yellow with a greenish tinge ; legs and toes black, the soles pale yellowish ; iris brown. Culmen 2.5, wing 11.6 tail 6.3, outer feathers 3 inches longer than the middle ones, tarsus 1.05 inch. In winter the forehead is dull hoary grey, the crown white closely spotted with black, the nape black.
Hab. Mediterranean, from the Straits of Gibraltar, where it is somewhat rare, to Egypt ; the Red Sea down to Madagascar ; coasts of Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, India, Ceylon, and Burma (rarely), ranging south to Malacca, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, and North Australia.
In general habits it appears to resemble the Sandwich Tern. It frequents the sea coasts and small islands, and is very gregarious, being usually seen in large flocks, and like its allies feeds on small fish. It breeds in colonies, the [nest being a mere depression near the shore, usually in sand, and the eggs, 2 in number, are in general character like those of the Sand¬wich Tern, are dull white, glossless, with purplish grey shell- markings, and dark brown surface spots, and measure about 2.18 by 1.56.
1117. Sterna media
1117. ALLIED TERN.