Elegant Terns breeding at L’Albufera de Valencia, Spain

Published on 08 February 2019 in Main articles

By J. Ignacio Dies, Miguel Chardí and Ana Abad 

Abstract Records of breeding Elegant Terns Thalasseus elegans at L’Albufera de Valencia, in eastern Spain, from 2006 onwards, are described. At least eight different adult Elegant Terns were recorded in the breeding season. As well as mixed pairings with Sandwich Terns T. sandvicensis, nine pure pairs of Elegant Tern occurred between 2009 and 2018, rearing a total of seven juveniles. These are the first, and so far the only, pure breeding pairs of Elegant Terns in the Western Palearctic.

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Adult female Elegant Tern #3, L’Albufera, 14th April 2011, with male #1 behind. This female engaged in two failed breeding attempts, in 2009 and 2011, and it raised the first pure juvenile in Europe, in 2012; the 2012 chick probably did not survive long after fledging, owing to an injured wing. This female showed a long gape and deep bill-tip. J. Ignacio Dies