Whiskered Tern at Kelly's this am - again

To: 'Sicheng Wan' <>, "" <>
Subject: Whiskered Tern at Kelly's this am - again
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2017 07:28:51 +0000

Hello Wan,

I am a bit lost at following what you may be suggesting but it is not correct. As far as I can work out, the Whiskered Tern lives and breeds both in Australia and in China and does some migrations locally. But it does not migrate far and not between these two countries, at least not normally. It just happens to live in both. I doubt that they breed twice a year, at least not in opposite hemispheres. I have never heard of any bird doing that. There are many birds that breed in north Asia and migrate to Australia and yes that is remarkable in itself but what they are doing is following the summer across the equator. They do not breed here. Presumably by following the summer they maximise the time available for feeding and rebuilding fat reserves to fuel their breeding and migrations. As Geoffrey pointed out the White-winged Black Tern is one of these many species, it visits Australia as a non-breeding migrant.

As an aside I saw White-winged Black Terns in Philippines but not in Australia.



From: Sicheng Wan [ Sent: Sunday, 1 October, 2017 4:50 PM          To: Geoffrey Dabb         Cc:
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Whiskered Tern at Kelly's this am - again


These two kinds of terns both breed in East China in summer months. I am superised with their capability. They really endeavour to survive, flying such a huge distance and breeding twice a year.

Two days ago I visited a wetland near my home and I found that the whiskered tern had left and migrated south. Last week they were still there.


Sicheng Wan


The species occurs in many parts of the world, other than Australia and clearly is very mobile within Australia. I have long thought that they are not an international migrant (at least between Aus & northern Hemisphere). One book I just look at says: “There is some evidence to suggest that many Whiskered Tern migrate to Indonesia & New Guinea to spend the winter.......” Which is not very convincing of regular long migrations. My book “Birds of East Asia” suggests that their migration from China is only fairly local and nowhere near as to come all the way to Australia.






20171001 13:08m("","gdabb");">Geoffrey Dabb 写道

Dear Sicheng Wan


Yes, they do indeed.  Martin Butterfield of this chatline has recently drawn attention to breeding near Canberra (see below).  On the other hand the closely related White-winged Black Tern visits Australia as a non-breeding migrant.


From: Sicheng Wan [
Sent: Sunday, 1 October 2017 3:50 PM
To: Geoffrey Dabb
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Whiskered Tern at Kelly's this am - again


Do they breed in Australia? From the photography they seem to have breedi; plumage.



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