1502. Sterna bergii.
The Large Crested Tern.
Sterna bergii, Licht. Verz. Doubl. p. 80 (1823): Hume, S. F. i, p. 283; ii, p. 50; iv, p. 470; Butler, S. F. v, p. 298 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 493; Hume, Cat. no. 989 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1026; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 95 ; Butler, ibid. p. 441 ; Barker, ibid. p. 490 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 428 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 297; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 431 ; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 293, fig. 989: Saunders, Cat. B. M. xxv, p. 89. Sterna cristata, Steph. in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii, pt. 1, p. 146 (1825); nee Swainson. Sterna velox, Cretzschm. in Rupp. Atlas, p. 21, t. 13 (1826). Thalasseus cristatus, Blyth, Cat. p. 291; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 842 ; Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 437.
The Large Sea-Tern, Jerdon.
The Coloration resembles that of S. media, except that the present species has a white frontal band and broader white lores, that the black only descends to the level of the lower edge of the orbit, that the crest is rather more distinct, and above all that the mantle is much darker at all seasons, being grey with a lilac tinge. In the young the quills are greyish brown with white inner borders, and the upper parts much mixed with brown.
Bill pale yellow ; irides deep brown ; legs and feet black ; soles yellowish.
Length 21; tail 6.5 to 7.5, depth of fork 3 to 3.5 ; wing 15 ; tarsus 1.25 ; bill from gape 3.6.
Distribution. The coasts of the Indian Ocean and Polynesia, also the west coast of S. Africa, the Red Sea, and the China Sea. Abundant on the Makran coast and at the Laccadives. and generally distributed, often in considerable numbers, throughout the coasts of India and Ceylon, less common on the Burmese coast.
Habits, &c. This large Tern has very similar habits to those of S. media, and is thoroughly marine, often fishing far from the shore. It has been found breeding in Ceylon and, in large numbers, in May and June on the island of Astola, off the Makran coast, where the nests, as described by Butler, are small holes scratched in the sand, several close together, each containing one to three eggs, which are generally pinkish buff varying to greenish grey, very beautifully blotched, spotted, or streaked with blackish, red-brown, and inky purple, and measuring on an average 2.45 by 1.71.