The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Swift Tern

Afrikaans name: Geelbeksterretjie

Swift Tern

Swift Tern

Photo © Steven Herbert

Sterna bergii

The Swift Tern is a common species along South African shorelines. They are also known as Greater Crested Terns in some areas of the world.

These terns are quite large and have a yellow bill and are black at the back of the head. Mala and female look alike.

Swift Terns are found along the coast and in estuaries. They feed mainly on fish which they catch by diving into the sea or scooping fish out from near the surface of the water.

They breed in most months of the year except for summer. Their nest is a simple scrape in the ground that is lined with dry grass. They nest on islands or near estuaries or pans. Either one or two eggs are laid.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 98

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 35

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 280

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 204

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 212

Seabirds - Author: Peter Harrison - Published: 1983 - Page: 383

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 134

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 143

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 121

Two Oceans - Author: Branch, Griffiths, Branch and Beckley - Published: 2010 - Page: 352

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 98

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 284

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 215

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 206

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 160

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 56

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 56

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 142

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 129

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 108

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 63

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 35

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 98

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 136

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 185

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 185

BirdLife South Africa


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