#441 common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

20 May

Most populations of the common tern are strongly migratory, wintering south of their temperate and subarctic Northern Hemisphere breeding ranges. First summer birds usually remain in their wintering quarters, although a few return to breeding colonies some time after the arrival of the adults.[20] In North America, the common tern breeds along the Atlantic coast from Labrador to North Carolina, and inland throughout much of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains. The defence of the territory is mainly by the male, who repels intruders of either sex. He gives an alarm call, opens his wings, raises his tail and bows his head to show the black cap. If the intruder persists, the male stops calling and fights by bill grappling until the intruder submits by raising its head to expose the throat. Aerial trespassers are simply attacked, sometimes following a joint upward spiralling flight.

(Image from Wikipedia)

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