White Tern

Gygis alba

The moment that you are coming into land at the International Airport, is likely to be the first time that you see these ethereal birds. The White Tern in its various subspecies are found across the world’s tropical oceans. Despite their common name, it is more closely related to the Noddies than to terns. It is a dainty, white tern with blue to black bill, black eye-ring and feet. The White Tern feeds on small fish which it catches by plunge diving. White Terns do not build a nest like the Black Noddy but select a depression or damaged area on the branch of a medium to tall tree, especially pines, on which to balance their one, very tapered egg. The chicks have well developed feet enabling them to hang onto their perilous position. They can be observed in any wooded area across the island, over open spaces and flying to and from the seas surrounding the island. While there are some birds present year round, the majority return in late winter to begin the breeding process.