This colony of Greater Crested Terns was enjoying a sharp breeze and sunny day on the seaward set of rocks at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula.
According to Wikipedia, ’the Greater Crested Tern, Crested Tern or Swift Tern, Thalasseus bergii, is a seabird in the tern family which nests in dense colonies on coastlines and islands in the tropical and subtropical Old World. Its five subspecies breed in the area from South Africa around the Indian Ocean to the central Pacific and Australia, all populations dispersing widely from the breeding range after nesting. This large tern is closely related to the Royal and Lesser Crested Terns, but can be distinguished by its size and bill colour.
The Greater Crested Tern has grey upperparts, white underparts, a yellow bill, and a shaggy black crest which recedes in winter. Its young have a distinctive appearance, with strongly patterned grey, brown and white plumage, and rely on their parents for food for several months after they have fledged. Like all members of the genus Thalasseus, the Greater Crested Tern feeds by plunge diving for fish, usually in marine environments; the male offers fish to the female as part of the courtship ritual.
This is an adaptable species which has learned to follow fishing boats for jettisoned bycatch, and to utilise unusual nest sites such as the roofs of buildings and artificial islands in salt pans and sewage works. Its eggs and young are taken by gulls and ibises, and human activities such as fishing, shooting and egg harvesting have caused local population declines. There are no global conservation concerns for this bird, which has a stable total population of more than 500,000 individuals.’
Best viewed large.
Canon 1DMkII with Canon 70-200mm f4L IS lens and x2 extender at 288mm; ISO200 f8 1/1000