White-winged Terns in Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak

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“These migrant White-winged Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus) have been returning north in the past few weeks. I took these 2 weeks ago and have been a bit puzzled over them.

“The two images were taken 45-50 minutes apart of presumably 2 different birds in breeding plumage both carrying nesting material (above). I am fairly certain it is not fish or other prey as that is consumed rather quickly and these birds were quite high up. I have previously seen ‘sham’ nesting by the Brown Shrike.

“These terns are noted to feed by taking prey from the surface of the water and not by plunging in. Even so very adept at getting fish (above).

“I took images of all the White-winged Terns at this location and enlarged them to see breeding status. Of 822 terns 340 (41.4%) had significant breeding plumage changes (above). The image above is in non-breeding plumage with wing moult.

“A small snaps of the crowd (above) and one in flight (below).

“A flock of White-winged Terns became distressed when a juvenile White-bellied Sea-eagle flew past, expecting to become prey (below). They followed the raptor at a respectful distance.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
25th April & 1st May 2014
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming

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