The Greater Crested Tern 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. 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.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Christopher Columbus became the first European to land on Puerto Rico, an
island he named San Juan Bautista after John the Baptist.
The University of Warsaw, currently the largest university in Poland, was
established as The Royal University of Warsaw after Warsaw was separated
from Kraków, the oldest and most influential Polish academic centre.
World War II: The Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German
auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran destroyed each other off the coast of Western
Australia in the Indian Ocean.
Playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama at Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazilian football player Pelé scored his 1000th goal on a penalty
Shenzhou 1, China's first unmanned test flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft,
was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Alxa League, Inner
Wiktionary's word of the day:
lurid (adj) 1. Ghastly, pale, or wan in appearance.
2. Shocking, horrifying.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.