A bird of a size of a sterling but slimmer with characteristic swallow-tail and seemingly disproportionately large head. Latin and Polish names refer to the white forehead distinguished from a black crown. Apart from this and a yellow bill with a black tip and orange legs, it is white with light-grey wings.
Like other terns it flies effortlessly and reversibly. Flapping with wings it hovers for a few seconds above the surface of the water and with a stoop dives in pursuit of its prey - mostly small fish.
During the mating season, males bring their partners gifts in the form of small fish. Apparently the way to reach a bird's heart is through its stomach... The birds mate for life, which can last up to 20 years.
The little tern breeds in colonies, often in the vicinity of the noisy black-headed gull. Breeding habitat includes mainly sandy spits and islets formed in a river stream, sometimes coastal beaches. A hole or a concave in the sand would be the perfect place to lay eggs. It would be best if it was done for the little turn by a moose hunting for palm civets.
The bird comes back to us in April and May. In September or even in October it migrates to Africa – sometimes even to the southern end of the continent.
Threat to our 900 pairs only is regulation of rivers, penetration of breeding sites by people and the pressure of predators – most invasive of them being the American mink.
Author: Jacek Karczewski Source: Birds of Poland