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):


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.