Swift Tern


Swift Tern (Greater Crested Tern)

Latin Name

Sterna bergii




50 cm


Swift Tern Occur in small groups in coastal waters.

Bird Call

Swift Tern make a loud, screaming 'kreee-kreee'.


Nest usually on some open, flat area, March - October. A shallow scrape is made, sometimes lined with a little grass. Eggs 1- 2 with a basic off-white colour, light turquoise or pale pinkish marked with brown splotches.

Immature Description

Immature Swift Tern have yellow bill, black-and-white barred upper-parts with buff-edged feathers - quite a mottled plumage. The sexes are alike.

Adult Description

A large Tern, with large, slightly curved, yellow bill. Forehead strip, sides of face, neck and underparts white. Black legs and feet with yellow soles.


Common resident.


Swift Tern is common in the south western Cape and found usually in small parties along the coast, or at estuaries. Breed on Schaapen, Marcus, Dyer, Malgas, Meeuw and Robben Islands, but not on each island every year.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari