Roseate Tern in San Pedro del Pinatar Saltpans

On June 3rd 2019, during one of the regular censuses of the waterbird colonies in San Pedro del Pinatar saltpans, we detected an adult of the very rare Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) showing breeding behavior in a colony of Common Tern (Sterna hirundo). This is the first record of this species in Murcia, not only as a breeder, but also the first sighting.

It was seen again on June 10th and 17th and July 8th, always with breeding behavior (alarm voices when approaching to the colony and fish at the bill). However, in all the visits to the colony, only one bird was observed, which brings us to think that it could be hybridizing with a Common Tern. After examining the photos taken on June 17th , we realized that the bird was ringed although we never were able to read the ring.

Roseate Tern seen in San Pedro del Pinatar saltpans on June 7th 2019.

Roseate Tern is an extremely rare species in the Mediterranean with scarce sightings. In recent years, there has been a breeding attempt in the “El Pinet” saltpans (Alicante) when two adults were observed for several days. The European population is estimated at 1600 pairs of which 1000 are in the Azores Islands. The other 600 pairs are distributed among Ireland, United Kingdom and French Brittany.

More information about this record here

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