Thursday, September 8, 2022

"Ivory" Common Tern

Last weekend was busy with family matters as my brother was married in Old Saybrook, CT on Friday night. The day after the wedding a few of us hopped on his best friend Rob's boat for a ride across the Sound to Long Island. As we were departing the mouth of the Connecticut River, I scanned the flock of Common Terns that frequents the breakwaters at this time of year. One shockingly white bird stuck out like a sore thumb, and Rob was kind enough to double back for a closer look. The bird appears to be a leucistic Common Tern with fully white plumage and bright orange bare parts. We could not linger for long, so I did not see it fly, but I don't see a trace of pigment in the feathers at rest. I've never seen a tern of any species like this, and after a bit of research this appears to be a rare abnormality among terns.







 - NB