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A Common Tern in Iceland

This first-winter Common Tern Sterna hirundo was captured on the trawler Jón Vídalín near the island of Surtsey (Vestmannaeyjar) south of Iceland, on 21 January 2004. It was taken into captivity at Heimaey island where it was still alive (but in poor condition) on 23 January.

Note the clear secondary bar (see photos below), ruling out the possibility of Arctic Tern S. paradisaea. Also note that the uppertail coverts were contrastingly white compared with the rump and back feathers, but not grey as one of the photographs shows!

This represents the third Icelandic record following a juvenile found dead at Heimaey on 23 November 1964 and an adult at Húsavík on 25 September - 5 October 1999. This is also probably the first winter record of a tern in Iceland.

- YK 26/01/2004

- click on the photos to enlarge -

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
In captivity at Heimaey island (S)
22 January 2004

© Sigursveinn Þórðarson

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
In captivity at Heimaey island (S)
22 January 2004

© Sigursveinn Þórðarson

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
In captivity at Heimaey island (S)
22 January 2004

© Sigursveinn Þórðarson