white common tern

Gygis alba
Gygis blanche
Itata’e

Interesting facts

The Common White Tern is completely white with a dark blue beak that becomes black at the tip. It is a smaller bird with a wingspan of 70 to 87 cm that hunts in small packs. Its diet consists mostly of small (3-10 cm) fish that are scooped from the surface and, occasionally, may dive to eat cephalopods or catch insects on land. These birds reproduce year-round on all the motu of Tetiaroa and lay a single beige egg that has gray and brown spots. A particularity of the Common White Tern is that they do not build a nest, and instead lay and incubate their eggs in a nook on a tree branch. The incubation is done by both the male and female for 36 days before the chick is born and raised for 60 to 75 days. In 2014 there were 400 couples estimated in Tetiaroa.

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