Sterna sumatrana (Black-naped tern) 

Swartneksterretjie [Afrikaans]; Zwartnekstern [Dutch]; Sterne diamant [French]; Schwarznacken-seeschwalbe [German]; Gaivina-de-nuca-preta [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Laridae > Genus: Sterna

Sterna sumatrana (Black-naped tern)   

Black-naped tern, SIngapore. [photo Marcus Lee ]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds from Andanam Island east to Samoa and Japan, as well as at Amirantes, Aldabra and Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean. It is a rare vagrant to southern Africa, with three records in southern Mozambique and two in KwaZulu-Natal. Generally prefers tropical and coral islets and adjacent seas, although in southern Africa it is always sighted at coastal tern roosts.


Almost exclusively eats fish, doing most of its foraging by snatching food from the water surface or plunge-diving to get to greater depths.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 


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