Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic Tern with prey

Arctic Tern with prey

The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a seabird species breeding in the Arctic and sub-Arctic of Europe, Asia, and America, but migrating to the Antarctic during the northern-hemisphere winter months. Thereby, the birds undertake the longest migrations known in the animal kingdom with individuals monitored to cover more than 90,000 km per year! A truly impressive performance!

The birds feed mostly on young fish and crustaceans which are caught by dipping into the water from a few metres height. I was happy to spend 1-2 hours at the beach near Laboe in northern Germany this month observing these cunning fliers preying for crabs in shallow waters. Albeit their enormous and surely strenous migrations, the birds can reach an age of more than 30 years, thereby refuting the infamous German saying “Sport ist Mord!” (i.e. sport kills)…

Please click on the photographs for bigger pictures…

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

dipping into the water

dipping into the water

emerging with prey

emerging with prey

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern with crab

Arctic Tern with crab

Arctic Tern with crab

Arctic Tern with crab

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

and off it goes...

and off it goes…

13 responses to “Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

    • thank you very much! 🙂 though I dislike the fact that in most photographs you cannot see the eyes of the birds due to their black heads… but the lighting was not perfect… anyways, I am very glad that you like the post 🙂

  1. Wow, more than 90.000km per year?! I mean that is really something! and can get 30 years of age, for a bird that size!…interesting I find. Lovely Mathias. and love the second image and the one before the last image, de een na laatste… have a wonderful evening.
    Cheers

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