World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0007090237
Reproduction Date:

Title: Thalasseus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tern, Greater crested tern, Sandwich tern, Orange-billed tern, Thalasseus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sandwich tern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Sternidae
Genus: Thalasseus
F. Boie, 1822

T. bengalensis
T. maximus
T. bergii
T. bernsteini
T. elegans
T. sandvicensis

Thalasseus, the crested terns, is a genus of six species of seabirds in the tern family. Thalasseus signifies a "creature of the sea". It has a worldwide distribution, and many of its species are abundant and well-known birds in their ranges. This genus had originally been created by Friedrich Boie in 1822, but had been abandoned until a 2005 study confirmed the need for a separate genus for the crested terns.[1]

These large terns breed in very dense colonies on coasts and islands, and exceptionally inland on suitable large freshwater lakes close to the coast. They nest in a ground scrape.

Thalasseus terns feed by plunge-diving for fish, almost invariably from the sea. They usually dive directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by, for example, the Arctic tern. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

These species have long thin sharp bills, usually a shade of yellow or orange except in the Sandwich tern where the bill is black with a yellow tip in most subspecies. All species have a shaggy crest. In winter, the Thalasseus terns' foreheads become white.

List of species in taxonomic order

An early Pliocene fossil bone fragment from the northeastern United States closely resembles a modern royal tern. It may be an unexpectedly early (3.7–4.8 million years before present) specimen of that species, or an ancestral member of the crested tern group.[2]


  1. ^ Bridge, Eli S.; Jones, Andrew W.; Baker, Allan J. (2005). "A phylogenetic framework for the terns (Sternini) inferred from mtDNA sequences: implications for taxonomy and plumage evolution" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35 (2): 459–469.  
  2. ^ Olson, S., Rasmussen, P.C., "Miocene and Pliocene birds from the Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina" in Ray, C. E. & Bohaska, D. J. (2001). "Geology and Paleontology of the Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina, III." Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, 90. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 233–365.
  • Harrison, Peter Seabirds: An Identification Guide ISBN 0-7470-1410-8
  • Olsen and Larsson, Terns of Europe and North America ISBN 0-7136-4056-1
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.