Terns (Sternidae)

Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis) - HBW 3, p. 646

French: Sterne voyageuse German: Rüppellseeschwalbe Spanish: Charrán Bengalí
Other common names: Crested Tern

Taxonomy: Sterna bengalensis Lesson, 1831, coasts of India.
Genus often merged with Sterna. Forms superspecies with T. elegans and T. sandvicensis, and perhaps T. bernsteini, and subspecific status has even been suggested. Often treated as monotypic, but described races based on subtle variation in plumage tone of upperparts and size: much overlap and intergradation, however, as well as intermediate populations, and distributions of races are confused; racial divisions require revision. Mediterranean and Red Sea birds sometimes classified together as race par; emigrata may be synonymous with torresii, a.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Sterna bengalensis Lesson, 1831, coasts of India.
Genus often merged with Sterna. Forms superspecies with T. elegans and T. sandvicensis, and perhaps T. bernsteini, and subspecific status has even been suggested. Often treated as monotypic, but described races based on subtle variation in plumage tone of upperparts and size: much overlap and intergradation, however, as well as intermediate populations, and distributions of races are confused; racial divisions require revision. Mediterranean and Red Sea birds sometimes classified together as race par; emigrata may be synonymous with torresii, although biogeographically allogical. Three subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • emigrata (Neumann, 1934) - Libya; most winter off W African coast.
  • bengalensis (Lesson, 1831) - Red Sea, and presumed to be this race in Pakistan, Laccadives and Maldives; winters S to S Africa and Sri Lanka.
  • torresii Gould, 1843 - Persian Gulf, and from Sulawesi to New Guinea and N Australia; in winter extends into N Indian and SW Pacific Oceans.

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