Terns (Sternidae)

Greater Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) - HBW 3, p. 648

French: Sterne huppée German: Eilseeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán Piquigualdo
Other common names: Crested Tern, Swift Tern (Africa)

Taxonomy: Sterna Bergii Lichtenstein, 1823, Cape of Good Hope.
Genus often merged with Sterna. Sometimes considered to form superspecies with T. maximus. Subspecific taxonomy unusually confusing, with many other races proposed, e.g. bakeri, edwardsi, halodramus, pelecanoides, poliocercua; race gwendolenae may not be valid. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • bergii (Lichtenstein, 1823) - Namibia to South Africa; some non-breeders move to S Mozambique.
  • enigma (Clancey, 1979) - Zambezi Delta, believed to nest on islands off Mozambique and Madagascar.
  • thalassinus (Stresemann, 1914) - Tanzania, Seychelles, Aldabra and Rodrigues I, and possibly this race in NW Madagascar; wanders to S Somalia.

     See all 6 subspecies
  • bergii (Lichtenstein, 1823) - Namibia to South Africa; some non-breeders move to S Mozambique.
  • enigma (Clancey, 1979) - Zambezi Delta, believed to nest on islands off Mozambique and Madagascar.
  • thalassinus (Stresemann, 1914) - Tanzania, Seychelles, Aldabra and Rodrigues I, and possibly this race in NW Madagascar; wanders to S Somalia.
  • velox (Cretzschmar, 1827) - Red Sea and NW Somalia E to Myanmar, Maldives and Sri Lanka; W populations winter S to Kenya.
  • cristatus (Stephens, 1826) - Malaysia to Philippines and Ryukyu Is, and E Australia to Society Is.
  • gwendolenae (Mathews, 1912) - W & NW Australia.