According to HANZAB (Volume III pp 766,769), Whiskered Terns usually forage
on or over wetlands, but some times hawk for insects over dry plains.
Occasionally they even feed on the ground in farmland, mainly during plagues
of mice, grasshoppers, caterpillars etc.
I would say that the reason that WTs prefer wetlands is that not only do they
provide such staples of the birds' diet as frogs, fish and crustaceans, but
they are also a more reliable source of insects.
Robert Read wrote:
> On 20/01 a flock of about 10Whiskered Terns were hovering over grassland
> near the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, apparently hunting grasshoppers. I
> have seen similar behaviour before.
> I would be grateful for any comments on two questions.
> Is this behaviour of hunting over dryland often seen?
> If the Whiskered Terns can make a living hunting grasshoppers why are they
> always found near water?
> Robert Read
> Alice Springs
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