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Common Name : Gull-billed Tern     -       Scientific Name : Gelochelidon nilotica       -       Other Name : Hisakalu Muhudulihiniya (S)
Thimbiri Wila
11/05/2016

This is a common migrant to the dry lowlands with a few pairs known to breed on islets off the northern cost. This species breeds in warmer parts of southern Europe, temperate and eastern Asia, both coasts of North America, eastern South America and Australia. Six subspecies have been recognized based on size and minor plumage details. The nominate subspecies G.n.nilotica is found in Europe, North Africa through the Middle East & south-central Asia to western China & Thailand. G.n.affinis is found in Japan, south and east China through Southeast Asia to the Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi and Sumatra. G.n.macrotarsa is found in Australia. G. n. aranea is found in eastern & southern United States. G.n.vanrossemi is found from southern California to northwestern Mexico. G.n. gronvoldi is found in French Guiana to northeastern Argentina.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (IUCN Red List).

This is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

This is a common migrant seen through out the dry coastal areas of the country during the migrant season. It is believed that a small population breeds on islets off the cost. This species is mainly found close to the coast but a few individuals move to inland fresh water bodies. Other than on the costal areas I have seen this species at Udawalawa & Lunugamvehera National parks, Huruluwewa, Nuwerawewa reservoir in Anuradapauera and at Maduruoya.

During the migrant season this is a commonly seen species at Wilpattu and can be seen at many large water bodies such as Kokkare Villu, Mahapatessa, Thimbiri Wila and Borupan Wila.