Common Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
(aka Sterna nilotica)
Common Gull-billed Tern, Lake Ziway, Ethiopia, January 2016 - click for larger image

Lake Ziway, Ethiopia
January 2016

The Common Gull-billed Tern is fairly cosmopolitan and breeds on all continents except Antarctica. European and North American populations migrate south during the northern winter and birds in the Rift Valley of Africa such as this one is probably from Europe. See the distribution map at Birdlife International.

The bill is black and is thicker and blunter than that found on most terns. It is pale grey above and white below. In breeding plumage the crown is all black but in non-breeding, as seen in this photo, the crown is white and there is a dark smudge through and behind the eye.

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