08 December 2015

One Tern Turns the Tabloids

Continuing the seabird theme of last week, today's post is about Lesser Crested Terns (Thalasseus bengalensis).

Lesser Crested Terns are widespread. They breed in subtropical coasts in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and in the Western Pacific in Australia. Outside the breeding period they range roughly in the same areas.

We occasionally receive reports of these birds, as shown on the map below, mainly from West India, Sri Lanka and one from Sumatra. Not too surprising as all these reports are located within the normal distribution range for this species. 

You may be surprised to learn that BTO rings have been used for a species of bird that normally doesn't occur in Britain & Ireland. But this is not the first time we have written about ringing abroad with BTO rings. Our ringers use our rings abroad in countries where there is not an established bird ringing scheme. One of such countries is Bahrain, a small island country in the Persian Gulf, where some of our ringers monitor breeding terns, including Lesser Crested Terns. Other BTO ringers ringing abroad work in Gambia, South Georgia, Falkland Islands and the Seychelles.

The map below shows where the Lesser Crested Terns ringed in the Bahrain have been recovered and reported. The yellow pin is the ringing site in Bahrain and the red pins are the places where they have been found.

What prompted sharing this story was the media craze that one bird generated in Sri Lanka last week because it was wearing a BTO ring. We received multiple reports from different people, including the finder, a wildlife ranger, an environmental journalist and someone who read the story on the paper. Hopefully as more people are aware of bird ringing, this will increase the reporting of birds and aid their conservation.

To our knowledge, the finding of this bird was on the Sri Lankan News website: Ceylon Today (below). Hiru News had an interesting headline and it featured in a nice article in the Sunday Times (from Sri Lanka).

From Ceylon Today (LITE) on the 29/11/2015

Headline from the Hiru News

Image from Rodrigo Malaka's comprehensive article in the Sunday Times

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