• Bridled Tern

    Bridled Tern ©Kenneth Lam   Common name: Bridled Tern Scientific name: Onychoprion anaethetus Local names: Бурокрылая крачка(Russian), 褐翅燕鸥 (Simplified Chinese), 褐翅燕鷗 (traditional Chinese), 에위니아제비갈매기 (Korean), マミジロアジサシ(Japanese), Dara laut kendal (Indonesian), Camar Batu (Malayu), Nhàn lưng nâu (Vietnamese), นกนางนวลแกลบคิ้วขาว(Thai) Conservation status: IUCN - Least Concern Bridled Tern is a widespread seabird found in warm oceans around the world. They are fairly common in the tropical seas. It is a strictly marine species but is often found in offshore waters instead of open oceans.     Identification Identification: Adult Bridled Tern ©Kenneth Lam Immature Bridled Tern ©Kenneth Lam Size: 30–32 cm; wingspan 77–81 cm. Body: medium-sized, with long and narrow wings as well as long and deeply forked tail with white. Wings, back and tail brownish-grey color. Underwing and body white color. Head: black cap with white forehead and a white stripe above the eyes.  White chin and beck Beak: black and as long as the head Legs and feet: blackish Juvenile: coloration is similar but duller than adults, but with some scaling and streaking to the upperparts A similar species to Bridled Tern is Sooty tern as general plumage color of upper surface, but could be distinguished by its larger size (33 -36 cm; wingspan 82 -94 cm) and head pattern, which the latter has less of the white forehead and lack white stripe running above and extending after the eyes. Distribution range The breeding range is widespread, mainly in subtropical and tropical west Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian  Oceans. In EAA Flyway, It breeds on the west coast of Thailand, east Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, and south to Indonesia and Australia, towards the west to north of Philippines and islands off Southeast China. Its known northernmost breeding sites are Zhongjieshan Islands of Zhejiang, and Toku-no-jima of Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Wintering range is understudied but basically in oceans of their breeding grounds. Birds breeding in China were found wintering at the Gulf of Thailand, Natuna Sea, Sulu Sea and Makassar Strait in Southeast Asia. Habitat Breeding habitat Bridled Tern breeds on offshore rocky islands of limestone and volcanic stacks, vegetated coral cays and exposed reefs. Also found breeding on slopes of sandy dunes, under low vegetation and cliff-holes in some colonies. Breeding habitat of Bridled Tern  ©Kenneth Lam Non-breeding habitat Entirely aerial and marine during non-breeding season. Bridled Tern at non-breeding period, resting on flotsam ©Kenneth Lam Behavior Bridled Terns showed an uncommon breeding pattern, in some populations, they has synchronous, subannual breeding cycles (breeding interval is less than one year) that coincide with molt. Some breeding pairs maintain with the same partners over successive seasons. Breeding space is highly dispersed and unevenly. Typically laying 1 egg per clutch. They are frequently found at mixed colonies with Black-naped Terns and Roseate Terns in South China and Southeast Asia waters. Population estimate Global estimated population: The global population is estimated to number c. 400,000-1,000,000 individuals. Its population in the EAAF is not yet estimated but it is one of the most common coastal breeding terns in tropical and sub-tropical Asia. Main threats Human disturbance, e.g. recreational and tourism activities at breeding site trigger nest abandoned Egg collection and chicks harvest Other threats: Pesticides and Other Contaminants/Toxics, e.g. oil spills risk Plastic pollution Exotic predators Conservation Work Hong Kong has started tracked study of breeding tern species. In 2017, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), Hong Kong SAR Government attached color flags to 19 adult and juvenile Bridled Terns in August 2017. In 2018, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS, EAAFP Partner) started conservation research on breeding terns in Hong Kong waters, with support from the Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE). HKBWS deployed marking with rings and coloured flags on a total of 110 adult and juvenile Bridled Terns trapped during breeding season in 2019m including two individuals fitted with satellite-tracking transmitters. (Note: speciall permit issued by AFCD, HKSAR) Tracking study of Bridled Tern ©HKBWS Fun Fact The specific name of Bridled Tern, anaethetus, is derived from a Greek root meaning senseless or stupid, a reference to its tameness and ease of capture by hungry sailors.  One Bridled Tern found injured (and later died) at Nago City, Okinawa, Japan on 13 October 2014 was found to be banded in Persian Gulf in Iran (as chick) on 28 July 2013. The bird travelled more than 7,450 km (linear distance) and was the first Iranian banded bird recovered in Japan (link). References  IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22694730/154676367 Birds of the World: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/briter1/cur/introduction Projects on terns in Hong Kong: AFCD: https://www.eaaflyway.net/bridled-terns-onychoprion-anaethetus-ringed-in-hong-kong/ HKBWS: https://cms.hkbws.org.hk/cms/en/hkbws/work/resarch/tern/tern2019e Chinese Crested Tern banded in Republic of Korea sighted in China Chinese Crested Tern Restoration of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern using social attraction technique A Conservation Success in Minjiang River Estuary A tern for the better Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Terns appear on a deserted island in South Korea The First Ever Banded Chinese Crested Tern Chick has Fledged EAAFP Seabird Working Group Update Brave efforts pay off in doubly-successful project to restore colonies of Chinese Crested Tern Chinese Crested Tern is the rarest wanderer in the world


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  • Chinese Crested Tern banded in Republic of Korea sighted in China

    The connection between RoK-breeding Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern and…


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  • Little Tern

    Little Tern ©Kenneth Lam Common name:Little Tern Scientific name: Sternula albifrons Local names: Малая крачка(Russian), Хурган хараалай(Mongolian), 白额燕鸥 (Simplified Chinese), 白額燕鷗/小燕鷗 (traditional Chinese), 쇠제비갈매기 (Korean), コアジサシ(Japanese), Dara laut kecil (Indonesian), Camar Kecil (Malayu), Nhàn nhỏ (Vietnamese), นกนางนวลแกลบเล็ก (Thai). Conservation status: IUCN - Least Concern The Little Tern is one of the smallest tern species in EAA Flyway. It has wide distribution range across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and the East Atlantic Flyway. Five subspecies recognized: Sternula albifrons albifrons; Sternula albifrons innominate; Sternula albifrons guineae; Sternula albifrons sinensis and Sternula albifrons placens, with the later two subspecies S. a. sinensis  and S. a. placens found within the EAA Flyway.     Identification Size: 22–28 cm; wingspan 47–55 cm. Body: slender light grey wings and body, with a white rump, tail long and forked Breeding plumage Head: distinctive white forehead, black cap and lores. Beak: bright yellow beak with a small black tip Orange-yellow legs Non-breeding Plumage Head: forehead is more predominantly white Beak: blackish beak Dull orange to blackish legs Juveniles appear like the non-breeding adults, except for a narrower black rear crown, and a more brownish-white forehead and crown. They have a U-shaped marking which is visible on the shoulders Little Terns can be confused with Fairy Terns (Sternula neresis), Saunder's Terns (Sternula saundersi), Least Terns (Sternula antillarum), Yellow-billed Terns (Sternula superciliaris), and Peruvian Terns (Sternula lorata). Distribution range Sternula albifrons sinensis: Palaearctic breeders in southeastern Siberia, Korea Penisular, Japan and China migrate south in the non-breeding season, mainly in the tropical region, but could reach down to New Guinea and Australia. Some are also found all year round in northern India and Sri Lanka east to southeastern Asia, the Philippines, and northern Australia. Sternula albifrons placens: East Australia and East Tasmania Habitat Breeding habitat Little Tern breeds on sand spits, banks, ridges or islets, and sandy beaches in coastal environments including coastal lakes, estuaries and inlets.  The nest is a shallow scrape positioned on the ground above the high tide-line and often only a few meters away from shallow clear water where it lays one to three eggs a clutch. Breeding habitat of Little Tern © Yutaka Otsuka Non-breeding habitat Coastal tidal creeks, lagoons and saltpans; sometimes feed in the open sea. Non-breeding site in Singapore ©Kenneth Lam Behavior Little Terns is a ground-nesting bird and it nests in small loose colonies., with the distance between nests usually more than 2m. Breeding colonies are small to medium-sized, up to 40 pairs, seldom > 100 pairs. Little Tern shows moderately high site fidelity.  Courtship occurs by presenting and feeding the females with fish and may last from a few days to weeks. Population estimate The global population is estimated to number c.190,000-410,000 individuals. There is no accurate census date for subspecies S.a. sinensis but estimated to 10,000 – 100,000 birds, while S. a. placens is estimated to have 10,000 birds. Main threats Habitat loss by reclamation Human disturbance, e.g. recreational and tourism activities at coastal areas close to breeding colonies Stray or feral dogs and cats at breeding sites. Other threats: Pollution Egg collection Artificially-induced water-level fluctuation Sand-mining Natural threats: Flooding Adverse weather conditions, e.g. typhoons, heavy rains, strong winds and waves Natural predators (e.g. Peregrine Falcon, snakes, rats)   Conservation Work Artificial breeding habitat on building rooftop in Tokyo, Japan to restore Little Tern breeding colony Since 2001, a new NGO Little Tern Project has been established to manage the initiative of building artificial breeding habitats on the rooftop of buildings in Tokyo Bay, Japan. This sustained over 2000 nests, although the population fluctuate due to various factors. The project also integrates with local community engagement and citizen science. Conservation of Little Tern is also part of local policy, e.g. Basic Environmental Plan of Ota City. Learn more: https://littletern.net/ Little Tern breeding at Morigasaki Water Reclamation Center of Tokyo © Little Tern Project Tracking and studies on migratory routes of Little Tern There are independent or internationally collaborative banding and tracking projects on Little Tern. Banding and colour-marking have been done in Australia by New South Wales (NSW) National Park and Wildlife Services (2003). In Japan, Yamashina Institute of Ornithology, Japanese Society for Preservation of Birds and Little Tern Project had banding and banding programme, and utilize of geo-locators. Japan had a collaborative project with Australia between 2012-2015 (link). In Guangdong, China, a joint research carried out by Little Tern Project, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Guangdong Haifeng Bird Provincial Nature Reserve Office, and Sun Yat-sen University has done colour-marking on Little Terns in 2017 and 2018. A yellow ring with a white engraving of A and 2 numerals had been placed on the right tarsus, as shown in the photo below (Yu, pers. comms.). However, further surveys in 2018 could not find any colour-marked Little Tern at this site. A Little Tern with geolocator ©Eugene Cheah Little Tern Recovery Plan in New South Wales, Australia The Little Tern is listed as Endangered in New South Wales of Australia under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act). This Recovery Plan was launched in 2003, which constitutes the approved NSW State Recovery Plan for the Little Tern. It covers conservation requirements of the species across and identifies conservation actions to be undertaken to ensure the long-term survivorship of the species. Learn more: link © New South Wales Government   Fun Fact A Little Tern in Australia had been recorded to reach 17 years old. Generally, Little Terns start breeding from 3 years old, occasionally at 2 years old. Regarding species looks similar to the Little Tern, while Fairy Tern might turn up in Indonesia and Saunders’s Tern in western SE Asia, Yellow-billed Tern and Peruvian Tern are highly unlikely to be found in EAAF countries. The most frequent confusion is with the Least Tern. It is an uncommon but regular visitor to Japan (first confirmed record was a banded bird from North Dekota, USA recovered at the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan in July 2014) and probably can occasionally be found in eastern Asia. References  IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22694656/155476219 Birds of the World: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/litter1/cur/introduction Chinese Crested Tern banded in Republic of Korea sighted in China Chinese Crested Tern Restoration of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern using social attraction technique A Conservation Success in Minjiang River Estuary A tern for the better Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Terns appear on a deserted island in South Korea The First Ever Banded Chinese Crested Tern Chick has Fledged EAAFP Seabird Working Group Update Brave efforts pay off in doubly-successful project to restore colonies of Chinese Crested Tern Chinese Crested Tern is the rarest wanderer in the world


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  • Australia’s Wildlife Conservation Plan for Seabirds

    At the national level in Australia, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provides for the development and…


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  • “Year of the Terns” World Seabird Day Webinar Series

    “Year of the Terns” World Seabird Day Webinar Series Brief Introduction To raise awareness among EAAFP Partners, researchers, conservationists, and the general public about seabirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAA Flyway), while promoting the exchange of information and collaboration on seabird conservation in the Flyway, the EAAFP Secretariat and the Seabird Working Group initiated the “Year of the Terns” in 2022. The World Seabird Day Webinar Series is one of the campaign activities for “Year of the Terns.” With the aim of showcasing and raising awareness for seabird conservation work along the EAA Flyway, the webinar series consist of two sessions, to launch the Asia Seabird Colony Registry, as well as showcasing work on tern species and their conservation. Date/Time: 1 – 2 July 2022 (15:00 – 16:30 KST on both dates) Topics: Session 1 (1 July): Launch of the Asia Seabird Colony Registry Session 2 (2 July): Showcase of tern conservation projects in EAA Flyway Organizers: EAAFP Secretariat, EAAFP Seabird Working Group, Australasian Seabird Group, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Meeting Platform: Zoom Language: English Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rce6prD8iGtax5wFiPEf6GfTOomM8A58c   (https://cutt.ly/LJKpiLt) Overall Programme  Day Programme Speakers Day 1 Welcoming Speech Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat  Robert Kaler, Chair of EAAFP Seabird Working Group   Presentation on Year of the Terns Vivian Fu, EAAFP Communication Officer  Introduction of World Seabird Registry Robert Kaler, Chair of EAAFP Seabird Working Group  Presentation on the launch of the Seabird Breeding Registry in EAAF Simba Chan, Seabird Working Group  Panel Discussion Moderated by Yat Tung Yu, Coordinator of EAAFP Seabird Working Group   Panelists:   Simba Chan,   Angelique Songco, Site Manager of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines,   Miran Kim, Seabirds Laboratory of Korea, Republic of Korea  Nicholas Carlile, Australasian Seabird Group   Day 2 Welcoming Speech Yat-tung Yu, Coordinator of EAAFP Seabird Working Group Primer screening of “Terns Operation” about Chinese Crested Tern, by Fung Hong Shing    1.      Presentation on Aleutian Tern Robert Kaler, EAAFP Seabird Working Group Chair 2.      Presentation on Little Tern Professor Wataru Kitamura, Tokyo City University 3.      Presentation on Chinese Crested Tern Siyu Wang, Zhejiang Natural History Museum 4.      Presentation on Terns breeding in Hong Kong John Chung, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society 5.      Presentation on River Tern Zheng Xi, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden – Hong Kong 6.      Presentation on Black Noddy Retch Pagliawan-Alaba, Research Officer, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park 7.      Presentation on White Tern Nicholas Carlile, Australasian Seabird Group Q&A Moderated by Yuna Kim, Australasian Seabird Group Webinar Speakers and Moderators: Day 1 “Launch of the Asia Seabird Colony Registry”  Date: 1st  July 2022 (15:00 – 16:30 KST) Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rce6prD8iGtax5wFiPEf6GfTOomM8A58c  Key speaker Simba Chan Seabird Working Group Panelists Angelique Songco Site Manager, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the Philippines Angelique Songco has more than 20 years of experience as a site manager of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and Flyway Network Site. Referred to as “Mama Ranger,” Angelique is also a member of the EAAFP Seabird Working group and works on the frontier in safeguarding important sites. Miran Kim Seabirds Laboratory of Korea Miran Kim is working in the Seabirds Lab of Korea. During her PhD, she studied egg morphology and hatching asynchrony in gulls. She has worked for the conservation of Swinhoe’s storm petrels and long-term monitoring of Black-tailed gulls. Recently, she is investigating the impacts of marine debris and bycatch on seabirds. Nicholas Carlile Australasian Seabird Group Nicholas commenced ecological research with the Australian Museum 1986 and since 1988 with the NSW States government. His work includes island biodiversity restorations and surveys, research into seabirds and their translocation. While focusing mainly on petrels, he has researched Little, Sooty and White terns as well as Boobies and Tropicbirds. Moderators Vivian Fu Communication Officer, EAAFP Secretariat Yat Tung Yu Director, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Coordinator, Seabird Working Group   Day 2: “Showcase of Tern Conservation Projects in the EAA Flyway “   Date: 2nd  July 2022 (15:00 – 16:30 KST) Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rce6prD8iGtax5wFiPEf6GfTOomM8A58c  Speakers Robert Kaler Chair, Seabird Working Group Robb Kaler is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, USA. Robb serves as chair of the EAAFP Seabird Working Group is interested in developing collaborations towards broad conservation goals that inform management decisions and promote seabird conservation. Professor Wataru Kitamura Associate Professor, Tokyo City University Wataru Kitamura Ph.D. is an associate professor at Tokyo City University and the president of NPO Little Tern Project aiming for conservation of the Little Terns on a rooftop in Tokyo. His main research area is conservation biology of avian species such as giving solutions for bird collisions to wind turbines and interaction between alien and native species. Siyu Wang Research Associate, Zhejiang Museum of Natural History Siyu Wang, research associate of Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, now mainly working on Chinese Crested Tern and Scarly-sided Merganser conservation. Since 2014, I participates in the Chinese Crested Tern Project as a team member. Except from research work, I'm also responsible for Science Popularization of Chinese Crested Tern and other birds. John Chung Hong Kong Bird Watching Society After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with an MPhil degree, John Chung devotes himself to bird research and conservation. He is currently a research officer in the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society. He is responsible for coordinating bird ringing, tern study, and citizen science programs in Hong Kong. Zheng Xi Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden - Hong Kong Zheng Xi is a Conservation Officer of Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden. He has been actively involved in several key conservation projects to minimize biodiversity loss in China and Cambodia, including the conservation of River Tern and Hornbills in western Yunnan of China. Retch Pagliawan-Alaba Research Officer, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Retch is the Research Officer of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines. She began working on seabirds in 2013 as part of her MSc studies. One of their seabird conservation projects is the restoration of the Black Noddy population in TRNP. Nicholas Carlile Australasian Seabird Group Nicholas commenced ecological research with the Australian Museum 1986 and since 1988 with the NSW States government. His work includes island biodiversity restorations and surveys, research into seabirds and their translocation. While focusing mainly on petrels, he has researched Little, Sooty and White terns as well as Boobies and Tropicbirds. Moderators: Yat Tung Yu Director, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Coordinator, Seabird Working Group Yuna Kim Australasian Seabird Group   Supporting Organizations   Playback of the Webinar  Day 1 Launch of the Asia Seabird Colony Registry Day 2 Showcase of conservation work of terns EAAF Contact If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact Mr. Yat-tung Yu, Coordinator of the Seabird Working Group at yyattung@hkbws.org.hk; or Ms. Vivian Fu, Communication Officer of  EAAFP at communication@eaaflyway.net.


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  • Aleutian Tern

    ©️ Kenneth Lam Common name: Aleutian Tern Scientific name: Onychoprion aleutica Local names: 白腰燕鸥 (Simplified Chinese), 白腰燕鷗(traditional Chinese), Алеутская крачка(Russian), 알류샨제비갈매기(Korean) , コシジロアジサシ(Japanese),  Daralaut Aleutian (Indonesian), Camar Aleutian (Malayu). Conservation status: IUCN - Vulnerable Aleutian Tern (Onychoprion aleutica) is a representative of an East Asian-Australasian Flyway species. It is a medium-sized, coastal and colonial nesting seabird. The species was discovered in 1868 on Kodiak Island, Alaska, but studies are limited, mainly at breeding grounds. Its breeding ground  Aleutian Tern is often found associated with Common Tern or Arctic Tern. The population of the bird is declining and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Identification Size: 32-28cm; wingspan 75-80cm. Body: mid-grey back and has long wings, the underparts are a dark gray, while rump and forked tail are white Head: Breeding – adults have black cap and lore with a white forehead, chin, throat, and cheeks; Juvenile: brownish crown, and upper body Underwing: dark leading edges on secondaries are diagnostic for identication. Beak: Black Legs: Short and black Distribution range Breeding range: at colonies in coastal Siberia, including Sakhalin Island, the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Sea of Okhotsk, and in the Bering Sea at Olyutortskiy Bay and Karagin Island, while in Southwest Alaska, they were found in Kasegaluk Lagoon, on the Seward Peninsula, the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, and along the Alaska Peninsula, as well as the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Archipelago, Kenai Peninsula, Copper River delta, and along the Gulf of Alaska as far east as Dry Bay. Non-breeding range: in spring and autumn offshore across the East Asia region covering waters in Japan, Korea, China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the Philippines, and in winter found in the tropical western Pacific region including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Recent vagrant records reached Australia. Habitat The Aleutian tern breeds on wetlands and solitary rocky islands along coasts, particularly at river mouths, along with sparsely vegetated shorelines, grassy meadows, and marshes. It is pelagic during the non-breeding season. Behavior Breeding season occurs from May-August with egg-laying mostly in June, usually nesting among Arctic Terns in Alaska or Common Terns in Russia. Aleutian terns primarily feed on small fish, but also eat insects, crustaceans and zooplankton. They forage by flying, hovering low over water, and then surface-dip or pounce to take the food from the water surface. Population estimate About 31,000 mature individuals. Main threats Habitat degradation Egg harvest and hunting Human disturbance Natural threats: Natural predators (e.g. American Mink, Fox, rats) and domestic dogs Conservation Work Aleutian Tern Conservation Plan and a Statewide Aleutian Tern Colony Census Protocol in Alaska As Aleutian Tern is a species of USFWS and ADF&G “Species of Conservation Concern/Species of Conservation Need”, in 2016, an Aleutian Tern Technical Committee (ATTC) was formally established. The ATTC has members include representatives from US’s federal and state agencies, scientists, and NGOs. ADF&G and collaborators. The recent population declines triggered an assessment of the status of the birds in 2017. Fun Fact Aleutian Tern usually nests among Arctic Terns, who are known to be defensive of their nests, so they can take advantage of this behavior, while Aleutian Terns do not attempt to defend their own nests. Bridled Tern 11th Yakutat Tern Festival Little Tern “Year of the Terns” Flyway Story Series #16 – Prof. Daniel Roby, Seabird researcher and conservationist Chinese Crested Tern EAAFP Secretariat and Seabird Working Group launches “Year of the Terns” in 2022 Year of the Terns 2022 Conservation Research of breeding terns in Hong Kong Color flagging of Breeding Terns in Hong Kong (2018)


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  • Chinese Crested Tern

    ©Simba Chan   Common name: Chinese Crested Tern Scientific name: Thalasseus bernsteini Local names: 中华凤头燕鸥 (Simplified Chinese), 中華鳳頭燕鷗/黑嘴端鳳頭燕鷗(Traditional Chinese), 뿔제비갈매기 (Korean), ヒガシシナアジサシ(Japanese), Dara-laut Cina (Indonesian), Camar Cina Berjambul (Malayu), Nhàn mào Trung Quốc (Vietnamese). Conservation status: IUCN - Critically Endangered, CMS - Appendix I The Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) is one of the rarest seabirds in the world. It seemed it had always been rare. It was not described until 1861, when the type specimen was collected at Kao, Halmahera, Indonesia. Since the last 21 specimens were collected at Qingdao, China in 1937, there was no confirmed record of the species. In 2000, the bird was resighted on Matsu Islands off the coast of Fujian. In 2004 another breeding colony was discovered at Jiushan Islands in Zhejiang Province. With international cooperation using social attraction restored the breeding colony, Chinese Crested Tern is estimated to be about 150 birds in population and is stable or slowly increasing. Identification Size: around 45 cm; wingspan 94 cm. Head: Short crested, Breeding: entire cap turned black with crest; Non-breeding: forehead turned white Beak: bright orange-yellow bill with a black tip and almost invisible white tip at the end of the beak Light grayish from the mantle to upperwing, rump, uppertail-coverts and tail forked tail; black legs Distribution range Breeding range: Since the rediscovery of the species in 2000, there are only five breeding locations: Jiushan Islands, Wuzhishan Islands (Zhejiang, China), Matsu Islands (Fujian, China), Penghu Islands (Taiwan, China) and Chilsando Islands in the Republic of Korea.  Non-breeding range: The bird is believed to breed off Shandong formerly, but is now only sighted in coastal areas in Shandong after breeding season. Non-breeding records were from South China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and eastern Malaysia.  Confirmed recent wintering grounds include Seram, Maluku of Indonesia and Mindanao of the Philippines. Eastern Indonesia and the Philippines are likely to be the major wintering areas for this species. Habitat Breeding habitat of Chinese Crested Tern, Tiedun Dao, Zhejiang, China © Simba Chan Chinese Crested Tern breeds only on offshore uninhabited islets, non-breeding habitat is of little information. Non-breeding ground in Indonesia © Ken Fung Behavior During the breeding season, Chinese Crested Tern usually congregate with Greater Crested Tern nesting areas, but in Ro Korea they nest in colony of Black-tailed Gulls. They can move between different colonies in the breeding season and are very nervous at disturbance. They are very little known during the non-breeding season but are likely to stay in flocks with Greater Crested Terns. However, these two species may not migrate together as previously assumed. Breeding Chinese and Greater Crested Terns in Tiedun Dao, China © Simba Chan Population estimate About 150 individuals of all ages (prior to 2012, only less than 50 individuals). Main threats Human disturbance (people reaching too close to the breeding colonies) Egg collection Other threats: Pollution (water pollution, plastic pollution) Overfishing Natural threats: Typhoons Natural predators (e.g. Peregrine Falcon, snakes, rats) Conservation Work Social attraction setting to restore Chinese Crested Tern in China © Vivian Fu International collaboration to use social attraction technique to restore breeding population Since 2011, an international cooperation project using social attraction (using decoys and playback) restored the breeding colony at Jiushan. The population increased from less than 50 to about 150 in 10 years. Subsequently, Social attraction was also done in breeding grounds of Matsu, Wuzhishan and Chilsando. Remove human-induced threats Through education and advocacy to promote law enforcement to prevent exploitation (egg collection) and disturbance, such as regulated tourism, allocation of park rangers for monitoring, as well as fishing communities and public engagement. Fun Fact Chinese Crested Tern was once thought extinct, so when it was rediscovered after 63 years in 2000, the bird was called “Bird of Legend”. Prior to 1975, the Chinese Crested Tern was known as Sterna zimmermanni Reichenow 1903 and the type locality was thought to be Qingdao of Shandong Province, China (when the team from Fan Memorial Institute of Biology collected 21 specimens from Qingdao area in 1937 all of them were labeled as Thalasseus zimmermanni). It was later on corrected that the type specimen should be the one collected near Halmahera, Indonesia in 1861, which had been misplaced as a population of Greater Crested Tern. Interestingly, when Dr. Nagamichi Kuroda obtained his specimen of Chinese Crested Tern from Korea in 1917 he also regarded it as a Greater Crested Tern. Luckily he left a detailed description of this long-lost specimen for verification to be a Chinese Crested Tern. Reference IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22694585/131118818 Birds of the World: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/chcter2/cur/introduction Simba Chan, 2022, Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini). Editor(s): Dominick A. DellaSala, Michael I. Goldstein, Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation, Elsevier: Pages 19-28 (link Chinese Crested Tern banded in Republic of Korea sighted in China Restoration of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern using social attraction technique A Conservation Success in Minjiang River Estuary A tern for the better Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Terns appear on a deserted island in South Korea The First Ever Banded Chinese Crested Tern Chick has Fledged EAAFP Seabird Working Group Update Brave efforts pay off in doubly-successful project to restore colonies of Chinese Crested Tern Chinese Crested Tern is the rarest wanderer in the world 寻找”神话之鸟”:中华凤头燕鸥


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  • Seabird Training Webinars for Southeast Asia

    The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS, an EAAFP Partner) has been engaging with an international team established for the conservation of…


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