Caspian Tern; Taranui (Sterna caspia)

Native.

 

The Caspian tern may be seen on the beach or on the mudflats. It can be seen flying over the water searching for fish.

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The Caspian tern is a large, stocky tern with a black cap that touches the beak in breeding plumage, with a slight crest. In non-breeding plumage the black cap may be flecked with white. The legs and feet are black, while the heavy beak is conspicuously red. The upperparts of the body are grey and the underparts are white. In flight the lower side of some of the primary wing feathers look black.

 

When feeding the Caspian tern flies along over the water, 5 to 10 m up, looking down into the water to search for fish. On spotting one, it plunges down in a dive and enters the water briefly.