I photographed at Shorncliffe QLD recently. I am thinking immature or
non-breeding whiskered Tern.
A Whiskered would have longer legs, a smaller bill, different headshape and
a much shorter tail. There isn't any chance this is a Whiskered. You
certainly have to be careful, as superficially Whiskered can look quite like
this, but not in detail.
I think it's a Common Tern, which is by far the most likely species in terms
of normal occurrence. 15 years ago, Common Terns were quite common around
the Redcliffe Peninsula, and seeing 100 in a flock at Shorncliffe was
perfectly normal. Since then, it seems the Recliffe Peninsula has been
basically nuked of most of its coastal wildlife. When I have been there in
recent years, I have been astonished at how dead the region is for waders,
terns and other birds of the shore, which used to be a real feature of the
It is a slightly funny-looking bird for this time of year, though - so what
does "recently" mean? A date would be helpful. ID as Common is not
completely without pitfalls given only one photo. The legs look surprisingly
short, but I suspect the photo is a bit deceptive in that respect. The form
of the bill, the very dark cubital bar, the colour of the primaries and the
head pattern all suggest Common rather than Arctic. A White-fronted would
have a larger head, finer, more spikey-looking bill and white would show
along the upper edge of the primaries.
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