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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

AFRICAN ROYAL TERN in COUNTY CORK











This AFRICAN ROYAL TERN was present in Inchydoney Bay, County Cork, from 1710 until 1940 hours (Martin Reimann) and was superbly photographed by Michael O'Keefe (see images above). About ten birders connected before it flew off.
Interestingly, the bird is in full breeding plumage and lacking any reddish-orange tones of typical American Royal Tern. The bird also has four retained dark outer primary feathers, rather than 6-7 which is typical of maxima. Furthermore, American Royal has a much deeper bill base in average. Therefore, to be an ART it is anomalous in many respects of its plumage so African Royal Tern (albididorsalis) is the most likely explanation. Elegant Tern and Lesser Crested Tern can easily be ruled out on plumage characteristics.