Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sandwich Tern

In North America, the Sandwich Tern is a "common but local" resident of the Gulf and southeastern Atlantic coasts. The species also occurs in Eurasia, and was first described in 1787 from the village of Sandwich in Kent, England. Sandwich Terns always breed in colonies with other species of gulls or terns. These other species are invariably more aggressive than the Sandwich Terns. Apparently Sandwich Terns "parasitize" the more aggressive species for protection against predators. An open question is why the aggressive species allow such parasitism (Shealer 1999). In any event, this photograph was taken of a Sandwich Tern along the Florida coast of Sanibel Island.

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