1118. Sandwich Tern.
Sterna cantiaca, Gmel. Syst Nat. i. p. 606 (1788) ; Naum. x. p. 50, Taf. 250 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 478, pl. cxxxii. figs. 2, 3 ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 415 ; (id.), B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 69 ; Audub. B. of Am. pl. 279 ; Dresser, viii. p. 301, pl. 586 ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 75 ; id. Manual, p. 643 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 312 ; Lilford, vi. p. 13, pl. 6 ; S. acuflavida, Cabot, Proc. Bost. Soc. ii. p. 257 (1847) ; Ridgway, p. 40.
Hirondelle de mer caugek, French ; Garajau, Portug. ; Golon¬drina de mar, Span. ; Beccapesci, Ital. ; Brand-Meerschwalbe, German ; Groote-zeezwaluw, Dutch ; Kentisk-Terne, Dan.
Male ad. (Turkey). Head to below the eye and nape glossy black, the nuchal feathers elongated ; a white line from the nostril along the edge of the upper mandible ; mantle plain French-grey ; primaries with white margins to the inner webs ; tail white ; under parts white with a very faint pink tinge ; bill black, the tip yellow ; legs black ; iris dark brown. Culmen 2.35, wing 12.1, tail 6.8, the outer feathers 3.4 longer than the middle ones, tarsus 1.1 inch. In winter the forehead is white, the crown and nape white closely spotted with black ; a blackish spot before the eye.
Hab. Europe, but not extending north above Britain or Denmark, and a very rare straggler to Southern Sweden ; on passage, and in winter ranging as far south as the Canaries and the Cape of Good Hope ; Asia, east to Sind ; the Atlantic coasts of North America, Cuba, Jamaica, both sides of Central America, and as far south as Bahia in Brazil.
Is essentially a marine bird, frequenting the coast, but has been recorded as nesting near salt water on a moorland loch, yet this is very exceptional. It feeds, like its allies, on small fish, its flight is strong and rapid, and its note is a loud harsh kirrhitt, kirhitt. It nests in communities, usually in sandy places near the sea, its 2 or 3 eggs being deposited in a depression in the ground, usually in May or June. These are subject to con¬siderable variation, the ground-colour varying from white to stone-buff, the shell-markings being purplish or pale brownish grey, and the surface spots and blotches, which are in some more pronounced than in others, are blackish brown ; some have peculiar hieroglyphic streaks, as if drawn with a pen. In size they measure about 2.05 by 1.42.
1118. Sterna cantiaca
1118. Sandwich Tern.