Whiskered Tern

Scientific Name: Chlidonias hybrida

Malay Name: Camar Tasik Bermisai Biasa

Chinese Name: 须浮鸥

Range: Found from Africa to southern Europe, temperate Asia and discontinuously to southern Australia. Northern population winters to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: hybrida, delalandii, javanicus.

Local Subspecies: hybrida

Size: 24-28 cm

Identification: Non-breeding adult has relatively short, blackish bill, mask, hindcrown and nape, white crown with dark streaks at rear, dark reddish legs/feet, shortish shallow forked tail and uniform grey upperside. Breeding adult has dark red bill/legs/feet and black forehead to nape. Juvenile resembles non-breeding adult but has buff-brown markings on scapulars and back.

Similar looking species: Gull-billed Tern, Little Tern, White-winged Tern

Habitat: Open seas, coastal habitats, mudflats, marshes and reservoirs.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually seen with White-winged and Little Terns. Feeds largely by skimming low over water surface.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2017)

Location: Lorong Halus, Kranji Reservoir, Straits of Johor and Straits of Singapore.

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Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Sep 17-Sep 23
Early date 28 Aug 2016
Late date 28 May 2009
A annual migrant through Singapore, with most records in Sep-Nov and much smaller numbers in the spring.


BirdLife International. (2017). Chlidonias hybrida. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22694764A111750380.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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