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A Caspian Tern (sterna caspia), enjoying the noon sun at the Hula Reservoir.

(from Michigan Natural Features Inventory).

The Caspian tern is the largest of the terns, with a wingspan averaging 4.5 feet. Its size, stout red bill, and lack of a deeply forked tail distinguish it from other white terns. Its black cap, large red bill, and tern-like habit of flying slowly with its bill pointed downward separates it from the gulls. The orange feet of immature birds distinguish them from fall-plum-aged adults which have black feet.
Nesting habitat of the Caspian tern is open sandy or pebble beaches, usually on islands in large bodies of water. The nest consists of a shallow depression near the water line. Water levels, competition from other species in the Laridae family, and vegetative succession are factors that influence the selection of sites for a nesting colony. Foraging habitat can consist of almost any large body of water where their prey can be found.

Caspian terns are a migratory species. They arrive at their breeding grounds from mid-April to mid-May. Almost all individuals return to the same general breeding area for more than one season. Caspian terns nest in colonies, often within several feet of each other and other species of the Laridae family. Clutches with an average of two or three
eggs each appear from mid-May to mid-July. Both males and females incubate the eggs for approximately 26 days until hatching in July and August. The young fledge 36-56
days after hatching.

Cropped and sharpened, original colors.

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Additional Photos by Liora Tzur (Liora) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1152 W: 142 N: 323] (1857)
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