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Home » Information » Gull-Billed Tern in Uganda (“Gelochelidon nilotica”)

Gull-Billed Tern in Uganda (“Gelochelidon nilotica”)

Gull-Billed Tern

What to Know About the Gull-billed Tern in Uganda?

The Gull-Billed Tern in Uganda is one of the African Uganda Bird Species seen during birding in Uganda. It was initially called the Sterna nilotica, in the family Laridae.

Currently the Gull-billed tern belongs to its own genus- from the Ancient Greek Gelao, which means “to laugh”, and Kheli don, “swallow”. The specific niloticus is from Latin and means of the Nile.

How Does the Gull-billed Tern in Uganda look like?

The Gull-billed Tern is a white bird, but has a black crown from bill to nape, grey back and upper wings and darker flight feathers.

The eye iris is dark brown, beak and legs are black. Male and female are similar. In non-breeding plumage, the gull-billed tern has white head, crown is marked brownish-grey and the ear coverts are gloomy black.

Juveniles are similar to non-breeding adult except the shoulders which are streaked grey and brown.

How Does the Gull-billed Tern in Uganda Feed?

Gull-billed Tern feeds on different items entailing largely small fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, small mammals, insects and their larvae.

During fishing, the Gull-billed Tern fans out its tail and with wings outstretched and flapping occasionally, slides quickly to the surface of the water.

It slants the head, leaving the bill nearly vertical so that only the tip touches the water. After grabbing the prey, it rapidly stretches and continues its slow hawk-like flight. It can’t dive on spend time on water.

How Does The Gull-billed Tern in Uganda Breed?

Usually, terns nest in colonies on elevated dry grounds on islands in a lake or marsh. Their nest is a shallow depression scraped in sand or mud, lined with some vegetation. They lay two t five eggs which are incubated by both parents.

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