roseate tern

roseate tern defined in 1930 year

roseate tern - Roseate Tern;
roseate tern - Bill black, orange-red at the base in the breeding season; legs and feet red; head and upper parts the same as in the arctic and common terns, except that the mantle is a paler pearl-grey; lower parts white suffused with rose. Length, fifteen inches and a quarter.

This species differs from the two already described in its slimmer body and greater length of tail, and in its shorter and narrower wings It also differs in the delicate rose-colour suffusing or tinging the white under-plumage; but this faint exquisite hue is seen only when the bird is in the hand. On the wing, unless very near, it appears white and pale grey like the common tern, and only as accustomed eye can distinguish it among the others by its slightly different shape. It may be more easily recognised by its short, constantly repeated note, which is more musical than that of the other species. Besides this short, excited note, it has the long, somewhat guttural, and gull-like cry common to all the terns. It breeds only on islands, and Howard Saunders, our best authority on the birds of this order, says that it is more 'intolerant of interference ' than other terns: hence many of its old breeding-stations on the British coasts have been successively abandoned during the last half-century owing to egg-collecting, and the bird is now becoming so rare that its extinction as a British species at no distant date is feared by ornithologists. In the north of England, and at various places on the coasts of Scotland, a few pairs still breed in company with the common and arctic terns. The nest is a slight depression in the sand and gravel, and two or three eggs are laid, creamy white or buff-colour, blotched and clouded with bluish grey and rich brown. As soon as the young have been reared the breeding-ground is abandoned, and the migration southwards begins.

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