Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Shawwal 20, 1443 H
clear sky
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OMAN
33°C / 33°C
EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Bridled tern's breeding season begins

At this time of every year, bridled tern can be seen in large numbers in the coastal areas of the Sultanate.
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With the temperatures crossing 40 degrees Celsius in the coastal areas of the Sultanate, the breeding season of bridled tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) has started under the hot and humid weather.


During this time of each year, this bird can be seen in the coastal areas. The bird carefully lays eggs in rocky places so that it can hide them and save them from being eaten up by other birds and animals.


It is a common seabird found in Oman and in many tropical areas of India and African countries. It does not dive, but takes food from the surface of the water.


This is a medium-sized tern, at 30–32 cm in length and with a 77–81 cm wingspan similar to the common tern in size, but more heavily built. The wings and deeply forked tail are long, and it has dark grey upperparts and white underparts. The forehead and eyebrows are white, as is a striking collar on the hindneck. It has black legs and bill. Juvenile bridled terns are scaly grey above and pale below.



This species is unlikely to be confused with any tern apart from the similarly dark-backed sooty tern and the spectacled tern from the Tropical Pacific. It is paler-backed than that sooty, (but not as pale as the grey-backed) and has a narrower white forehead and a pale neck collar.


Environmental researchers say that “this species breeds in colonies on rocky islands. It nests in a ground scrape or hole and lays one egg. It feeds by plunge-diving for fish in marine environments, but will also pick from the surface like the black tern and the gull-billed tern. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by the Arctic tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display”.


At this time of the year, there are tens of thousands of this bird, especially in the northern regions of the Sultanate. Therefore, this season attracts many ornithologists to study and verify data related to this beautiful bird. There are also many birdwatchers and photographers interested in the types of Omani birds who spend days documenting this bird photographically.


There are more than 500 species of birds in the Sultanate, and the institutions of the Sultanate are making great efforts to contain and preserve them from the risks of being overhunted.


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