Roseate Tern

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“Sterna dougalli. Roseate Tern. Paradise Tern. Bill about as long as head or foot, straight, slender, compressed, very acute; gonys longer than rami, former straight, latter concave in outline, with acute but not prominent angle between them. Wings shorter than usual, 1st primary little longer than next, all rounded. Tail exceedingly long and deeply forked, with very narrow filamentous outer feathers. Tibia slightly denuded; tarsus a little shorter than middle toe and claw. Whole form trim and elegant. Bill black, the extreme point yellowish, the base for a little distance, and inside of mouth, red. Feet bright yellowish-red; claws black. Cap lustrous black, very ample, reaching to lower border of eyes; under eyelid white, as is a streak to end of feathers on bill. Neck all around and entire under parts snowy white, tinted with lovely rose-pink. Mantle delicate pale pearly, over all the upper parts from the neck, including rump and base of tail, fading however to white on tips of tertials and inner webs of secondaries. Long tail-feathers white with a faint pearly tint. Primaries grayish-black, strongly silvered when fresh; outer web of the first blackish; inner webs of all pure white for more than half their breadth, this white stripe broadest on the first, toward the base of which it occupies the whole web, and on all of them continued to and usually around the very tips; shafts of all the quills white both sides nearly to end.” Elliot Coues, 1884


Birds: T-V


Elliot Coues Key to North American Birds (Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat, 1884)


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