Whiskered Tern: bird of the week VIII

Another victim of whimsical naming, identifying the whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybrida) seemed impossible to me. I couldn’t see the whiskers at all. It turns out that in summer breeding plumage when its head turns black and its body becomes a dark ashy gray, a remaining white band across its face reminded some of human male facial fuzz. India is home to breeding populations of these terns, and also receives climate refugees from the north in winter. In principle I should have noticed the whiskers on the resident birds. But I do most of my birding in winter. So I’d missed the colour change that had just set in between my two visits to Mangalajodi. The featured photo is from early February, the one below from mid-March. You can see the darkening of the feathers. This will continue for another month, I think. It’s too hot to get go back and check.

There aren’t many places on WordPress where bird watchers can share posts. If you post any photos of birds this week (starting today and up to next Monday), it would be great if you could leave a link in the comments, or a pingback, for others to follow. There is no compulsion to post a recent photo, but it would help others to know when and where you saw the bird. You might consider using the tag “Bird of the Week” in case people search for old posts using it. I hope you’ve had the time to look at what others have added this week and in the previous weeks.


By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


    1. I find it hard to get a sharp shot of the whiskered tern in flight because you have to zoom in quite a bit, since they are so small.

      Thanks for adding these grey crowned babblers. They look very interesting. I see that they are exclusively Australian.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. very nice. i like learning about these creatures – there’s so many different bird species that you’d be hard pressed to believe they actually exist instead of being someone’s imagination

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Finding it a whimsical coincidence that I came across this profile while searching for the Indian name for one of my favourite fragrant night bloomer Rangoon creeper (loved Madhumanjari among them by the way), and I am seeing most of your posts are from Odisha, where I am now for a 2 month internship! Echo in a lot with the aspects of life you enjoy and seem to post here! It is pushing me to finally start writing over here one day maybe 🙂 Little world of words, pictures, birds, plants, flowers, sky and travel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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