Chlidonias leucopterus   (Temminck,  1815) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: pbase

Size: 20-23 cm; Length 20-23 cm.

Color: Back and wings grey with some mottling on wings; tail white; forecrown white, hindcrown speckled with black with a large black patch behind eye and small black patch in from of eye; below including underwing and sides of neck white; in breeding dress back, head and underparts, including underwing coverts, black; flight feathers pale grey, forewing white, rump, tail and undertail coverts white. Immature similar to adult but brown replaces black and some feathers edged buff. Bare parts: iris dark brown; bill black (non-breeding) or dark red (breeding); feet and legs orange-red (breeding), dark red to black (non-breeding).

Voice: A sharp kreak, kreak.

Habits: Gregarious, in winter generally feeds with Whiskered Tern in small flocks flying back and forth at the height of 3 to 6 meters and thus catching insects in the air or by swooping and picking from water surface.

Adult: Sexes alike. In winter, similar to Whiskered Tern except slightly smaller in size with dull grey (not silvery-grey) mantle. Non-breeding (winter): Black patch from pale crown to ear-coverts extends below eyes, oftern there is a white gap between this patch and eye, Tail white. Breeding (summer): Head to belly black with contrasting white wings, bill black, legs dark red, in flight, striking contrast on underwing between whitish flight feathers and black wing-coverts.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Whitewinged Black Tern (English)
• White-winged Black Tern (English)
• white winged tern (English)
• White-winged Tern (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous, comprising fish, crabs, aquatic larvae, tadpoles.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Goa, Mandovi INDIA (Record: 21/03/1993, 18/08/1998)
• Goa, Carambolim INDIA (Record: 06/02/1998, 18/03/1998)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 2003, 2008)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Tikader, BK (1984) Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Island ZSI, Kolkata 1-167 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Tikader, BK and Das, AK (1985) Glimpses of animal life of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ZSI, Kolkata 1-170 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Subba Rao, NV and Sastry, DRK (2005) Fauna of Marine National Park, Gulf of Kuchchh (Gujarat) ZSI 79 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Abbaasi, SA (1997) Wetlands of India-Ecology and Threats Discovery Publishing House,New Delhi II 1-182 Available at - NIO, RC Kochi
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • AEWA (African-Eurasian waterbird agreement) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-11

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