Unknown bird, Darwin Harbour

To: "Peter Shute" <>, <>, <>, "Bill Stent" <>
Subject: Unknown bird, Darwin Harbour
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 11:49:52 +1000
I emailed Bill Stent to tell him I reckon that his bird is either a Whiskered or a White-winged Black Tern. At first glance the dark eye blotch seems to suggest Gull-billed Tern but it is wrongly inclined. That mark on Gull-billed Tern slopes down from forward of the eye, such that the rear of it is more distant from the crown than the forward edge. On Bill's bird it slopes up as would head markings on non-breeding Whiskered or White-winged Black Tern. Also, as Peter notes, the outer tail feathers are not long enough to create a fork when closed. Both the above features are visible in the photo to which Russell drew our attention. I also agree that the legs really are red, matching both of the marsh terns, contrary Gull-billed which are black. What gives the head markings the reddish tinge, must however be aberration.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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