Gull-billed Tern

To: Gavin Goodyear <>
Subject: Gull-billed Tern
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 18:18:28 +1000

Have any terns been observed pecking/tearing/breaking up fish?  [I have observed
feral pigeons and noisy miners breaking up bits of bread in parks, so wondered
if terns had a similar capacity for fish that were too big to swallow whole].


> Gavin Goodyear wrote:
> G'day all,
> While visiting the new Kakadu wader roost at Bribie Island this morning, I
> noticed a Gull-billed Tern attempting to swallow a small -  100mm - Striped
> Catfish (Plotosus lineatus). It made two attempts at actually swallowing the
> fish over the 5 minutes it was in view but brought it back up both times. Most
> of this time it was trying to keep its catch from the bullying Silver Gulls
> and eventually flew out of sight with its intended meal.
> I have observed this species once before trying to eat catfish a couple of
> years ago at Hayes Landing, Lake Wivenhoe in the Brisbane River valley. A
> Gull-billed Tern attempted to swallow a Blue ( Salmon ) Catfish (Arius
> graeffei) approx. 90mm long. After several attempts at swallowing its prey, it
> must have decided it wasn't going to happen and took off leaving it's prey
> behind.
> Gavin
> Petrie.Qld
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