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Fosters Tern
10-MAR-2017

Foster's Tern

Sarasota, Florida

Scientific name: Sterna forsteri

The Forster's tern breeds inland in North America and winters south to the Caribbean and northern Central America.

This species is rare but annual in western Europe, and has wintered in Ireland and Great Britain on a number of occasions. No European tern winters so far north.

This species breeds in colonies in marshes. It nests in a ground scrape and lays two or more eggs. Like all white terns, it is fiercely defensive of its nest and young.

The Forster's tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, but will also hawk for insects in its breeding marshes. It usually feeds from saline environments in winter, like most Sterna terns. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favored by the Arctic tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

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