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?Forster's vs. Sandwich Terns


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12 minutes ago, Hasan said:

Why did you rule out Bonaparte's Gull? That wing pattern is distinctive, not to mention the dark hood.

I didn't even think about Bonaparte's, but would Bonaparte's not have a shorter bill and less black and also only as a smudge posterior to the eye (we only have nonbreeding individuals here)?  

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These are Forster’s Terns. All Sterna terns have black or blackish tips to the underside of the outer primaries, so those are not particularly helpful in ID, unless one has studied 100s or 1000s of each species and knows the variation in them. Even then, it’s difficult discerning the amount and blackness of the dark on each feather tip when the wing is moving. I don’t bother, unless it’s something locally rare (like an inland Arctic).

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