Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 20, 2009

Crested Terns Mating 090820

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:51 am

Crested Terns Mating, Newcastle Baths, 20th August 2009.

Scientific name: Sterna bergii
Family: Laridae
Order: Charadriiformes

Crested Terns make nests as shallow scrapes in bare sand, rock or coral. The nests are usually on flat open ground, often not lined but sometimes have grass, stones or bones lining them. They breed regularly in a relatively short season each year and at the same time each year. On the south coast of New South Wales, courtship behaviour and breeding takes place between July and August.

Crested Terns first breed when they are two years old, following an elaborate, spiralling courtship flight. The courtship flight of the Crested Tern involves the pair flying in a mirage image of each other, wing tips close, with great speed and grace, often spiralling high into the air.

This pair started circling each other first, the female on the right squawking loudly. Note the raised crests of them both, especially the male on the left. The squawking continued throughout the mating.

Crested Tern

Then the male jumped on top, balancing on the back of the female. This female looks to be smaller than the male, but I am unsure if this is general amongst Crested Terns.

Crested Tern

The female has yet to raise the central part of the tail feather.

Crested Tern

Note that the female has now raised the tail feathers. I am not sure how mating occurs from these photos because I thought their cloacas had to come into contact.

Crested Tern

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