Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Greater Crested Tern - Thalasseus bergii subsp. cristata

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Charadriiformes > Sternidae > Thalasseus > Thalasseus bergii subsp. cristata

Greater Crested Tern
Thalasseus bergii subsp. cristata

Greater Crested Terns can be seen in large colonies along the rocky coast and small islands between Cairns and Cape Tribulation

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Greater Crested Tern - Thalasseus bergii subsp. cristata on Black Rocks, near Cow Bay - Photo by Alex Pawlow

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They hunt for fish by "plunge diving" and can dive up to 1 metre to catch their prey. They mainly eat fish, but can take juvenile sea turtles, lizards and insects.

They are easy to distinguish by their black crest, which is often shown as a shaggy top, or swept back to a peak behind the head.

They have wide undersides and grey back and top to their wings.

There is estimated to be over 500,000 of this subspecies in Australia, where they live and breed in tropical and warm temperate coastal areas.