White-winged Tern

Scientific Name: Chlidonias leucopterus

Malay Name: Camar Tasik Sayap Putih

Chinese Name: 白翅浮鸥

Range: Found throughout Europe to temperate Asia, wintering to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 20-24 cm

Identification: Non-breeding adult resembles Whiskered Tern but has finer bill, distinctive isolated roundish ear-patch (headphones) and whitish rump/uppertail-coverts. Breeding adult has all black head, body and underwing-coverts. Juvenile resembles non-breeding adult but has buff-brown markings on scapulars and back.

Similar looking species: Little Tern, Whiskered Tern

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

Behaviour/Ecology: Gathers in small loose flocks, feeding by wheeling and skimming low over water surface.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Lorong Halus, Kranji Reservoir, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Marina Barrage, Straits of Johor and Straits of Singapore.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Nov 05-Nov 11
Early date 05 Jul 1990
Late date 18 Jun 1990
A regular migrant in significant numbers, forms huge congregations during migratory periods. Most records in recent years have been from Kranji, Seletar Dam, and Marina East.


BirdLife International. (2016). Chlidonias leucopterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22694782A86772583.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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