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Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus
Texas Offshore Status: Fairly common to common summer resident (May-November) to offshore and pelagic waters. Pelagic birding trips during the 1990’s turned up numerous birds during the summer seasons, and the species was removed from Texas Review Species in 1997. May be found singly, in small flocks, or in large feeding congregations, sometimes with Sooty Terns. Very rare along the coast following tropical storms.
Habitat: pelagic waters. Often found perched on driftwood, along Sargassum weed lines, and other floating material.
Similar Species: Similar to Sooty Tern. Although the color of the wings and upperparts is an important first clue, it is helpful to use a combination of field marks before making an identification. Bridled Tern differs from the slightly larger Sooty Tern by the combination of dark gray (not black) wings and upperparts, more extensive white outer tail feathers, and whiter forehead. Juveniles are very white-headed (juvenile Sooties are completely black). Unlike Sooty Tern, Bridled is often found perched on floating debris, especially along weed lines.
(2) Lower Texas Coast Status from Brad McKinney’s annotated checklist (updated 2009).
Seasonal Occurrence Graph
Texas Pelagics Sightings Distribution
This map shows the geographic distribution of Bridled Tern found in Offshore Texas (and Gulf of Mexico)
Click on the box in the upper left of the map to view the map legend.
Click on each sighting symbol and the data label will appear showing the time, date and the number of birds seen.
Click on the link on the bottom of the map to view a larger map.
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