Terns (Sternidae)

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) - HBW 3, p. 645

French: Sterne caspienne German: Raubseeschwalbe Spanish: Pagaza Piquirroja

Taxonomy: Sterna caspia Pallas, 1770, Caspian Sea.
Along with Gelochelidon and Thalasseus, genus often merged with Sterna, based primarily on ethological evidence; differs from all other terns, however, in massive, heavy bill. Species name often given as H. tschegrava, particularly in recent Russian works, both names dating from same year; to avoid further confusion, name tschegrava officially suppressed in 1970. Australian and New Zealand birds sometimes separated as race strenua, but characters matched by many individuals of other populations. Monotypic.

Distribution: North America, N Europe (Baltic), Africa, Madagascar, C & S Asia, Australia (coastal and sparsely inland), New Zealand; everywhere very local. Probably bred in British Columbia (1984); recent fledglings observed in delta of R Copper suggests breeding in Alaska. Disperses more widely in winter.