Crested tern

Crested tern
Image: Tourism Tasmania
Community type

Pelagic reef organisms

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone

Terns are sleek birds with long pointy wings, and a pointed sharp beak for spearing fish. The crested tern is common to coastal areas of Tasmania, and often seen in the Derwent estuary. They are easily identified by a crest or spike of feathers on their head. In the breeding season (November to March) this crest is black and is often raised, while during the rest of the year it is grey. Tern usually nest in colonies of 10 – 100 birds. They nest in shallow scrapes in the ground. Crested terns feed by plunging into the water to take small fish, squid and crustaceans. They will often follow fishing boats and take discarded fish.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.