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White-fronted Tern

White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata) is the most common tern found in New Zealand

Adult pale grey or white, long black bill, black or reddish black legs, black cap separated by white forehead.

It rarely swims, apart from bathing, despite having webbed feet. The species is protected.

White-fronted Terns feed in large flock by plunge diving on shoals of smelt and pilchards, which have been driven to the surface by larger fish and are easily caught. Like all terns they fly with their head and bill pointing down to see their prey

Breeding is between October and January in large colonies on rocky cliffs and offshore islands

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Taken on February 1, 2011