Fun Chinese Crested Tern Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Chinese Crested Tern Facts For Kids

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The tern is a large group of sea birds of the world in the family Laridae, as well as seagulls and squirming beaks. There are 45 different species of these birds, all belonging to the Sterninae subfamily. Although each species is different, all terns have long bodies, disproportionately short legs, and long tails. These birds have a real distribution all over the world, including Antarctica. It is a Critically Endangered species. It was previously considered Extinct. Only four pairs were rediscovered in 2000. They nest on a small island in Matsu Islands off the coast of Fujian Province. In the past, it was distributed more widely, from the eastern coast of China to the northern part of Shandong Province. The colony may be protected due to the disputed status of the islands managed by the Taiwanese government but claimed by mainland China and the military sensitivity of the restricted access areas. The island has now been declared a wildlife sanctuary. Other small colonies may still be found in the coastal areas of mainland China and Taiwan; migratory birds have been seen near the mouth of the Bachang river in southern Taiwan.

For more relatable content, check out these Caspian tern facts and Arctic tern facts for kids.

Fun Chinese Crested Tern Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Small fishes like sardines, leatherjackets, Australian anchovies

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-3 eggs per clutch

How much do they weigh?

1-1.5 lb (0.5-0.7 kg)

How long are they?

9-21 in (22.9-53.3 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Pollution, Habitat Destruction

What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them?

Rivers, Estuaries, Wetlands, Beaches, Mudflats, Sandbars


Worldwide Distribution Including Antarctica









Chinese Crested Tern Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Chinese crested tern?

The Chinese crested tern is a bird.

What class of animal does a Chinese crested tern belong to?

Chinese crested terns belong to the class of Aves.

How many Chinese crested terns are there in the world?

According to the data shared by BirdLife International, only 50 Chinese crested terns are left in the world.

Where does a Chinese crested tern live?

They are usually found close to the water in East Asia, particularly off islands near Japan and China.

What is a Chinese crested tern's habitat?

Chinese crested terns (Thalasseus) live in a variety of different habitats but are mainly found near sea or salt water, rather than freshwater. Some of the many ecosystems in which they inhabit include beaches, sandbanks, salt marshes, estuaries, rivers, and wetlands. Some species of crested tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) spend all their time in the sea.

Who do Chinese crested terns live with?

During the breeding season, these birds gather in colonies in large numbers. However, the breeding colony of these wild birds is not particularly social, and each pair establishes its own small nesting territory.

How long does a Chinese crested tern live?

The oldest known ages include the 34-year-old Arctic tern and the 32-year-old black tern. Although several other species are known to live in captivity for up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Chinese tern is usually monogamous, although three females or pairs of females have been observed to form colonies in the breeding season. Most terns breed at the same time each year, but some tropical species can nest at intervals of less than 12 months or asynchronously. Most terns reach sexual maturity within three years, although some small species can reproduce in the second year of the breeding season. Nests of large species are in close proximity and sit firmly, making it difficult for aerial predators to perch on each other. Tropical species generally lay a single egg, but if the food supply is sufficient, they will lay two to three eggs in cooler areas. The time required to complete the clutch varies, but temperate species take between 21-28 days to hatch. Eggs of most gulls and terns are brown with dark spots, making it difficult for predators to detect them on the beach. Early maturing chicks develop wings approximately four weeks after hatching. Both parents incubate eggs and feed the chicks, although the female hatches more and fishes less than their partner. Terns typically return for 7-10 breeding seasons in their natural reserve spots.

What is their conservation status?

Crested terns are a Critically Endangered species. In 2007, it was estimated that the Chinese Greater tern would become extinct within five years if the authorities did not protect it. The Cambridge International Bird League in the United Kingdom found in a survey that the number of crested terns had dropped to 50, half the number in 2004. At present, for Chinese crested terns, the destruction of habitat, illegal egg collection, typhoons, and fishermen destroying nesting colonies are major reasons for the substantial fall in their number. There is also the threat of hybridization with the great crested tern.

Chinese Crested Tern Fun Facts 

What do Chinese crested terns look like?

Although there are many different species of these birds, they all have some common characteristics. In terms of their body length, their legs are relatively shorter. Its body and tail are long and teardrop-shaped. These birds also have very long, very narrow wings, and sometimes sharp tips. They vary in size, from about 9-21 in (22.9-53.3 cm) long. The heaviest one weighs about 1.5 lb (0.7 kg).

How cute are they?

Terns are some of the cutest birds in the world due to their appearance.

How do they communicate?

This wild bird migrates between wintering grounds and breeding grounds every year, and vice versa. Outside the breeding season, most of them are social and live in small groups. During the breeding season, they gather in large numbers in their habitats for breeding. However, their breeding colony is not particularly social, and each pair has established its own small nesting territory. The couple cannot tolerate being violated by their neighbors.

How big is a Chinese crested tern?

They vary in size, from about 9-21 in (22.9-53.3 cm) long. As compared to Chinese crested terns, the least terns are 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm) long. Therefore, the crested tern is two to three times bigger than the least terns.

How fast can a Chinese crested tern fly?

A Chinese crested tern is a wild bird and can fly approximately 24 mph (38.6 kph). The average flight speed of the Arctic tern is also approximately 24 mph (38.6 kph), and it is known as one of the fastest migratory birds in the world.

How much does a Chinese crested tern weigh?

The heaviest Chinese crested tern can weigh up to 1.5 lb (0.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No, there are no sex-specific names of the species.

What would you call a baby Chinese crested tern?

A baby Chinese crested tern is called a chick.

What does the greater crested tern eat?

Terns are primarily fish eaters and feed on fish and other shellfish. Their exact diet varies according to the species and the area of ​​residence. Some eat only a few types of fish during reproduction or migration and breeding season, but mostly they prey upon fish that is abundant and easy to catch. Their diet also includes small fish, squid, shrimp, krill, crabs, insects, lizards, and small mammals.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, terns cannot be good pets. Humans did not domesticate terns in any way. In addition, keeping terns as pets is illegal in most places due to their conservation status.

Did you know...

In zoos or aquariums, these birds often live in enclosures with other shorebirds or seabirds such as wagtails or seagulls. Their habitat has plenty of shallow water for them to eat and bathe, as well as beaches and various habitats for them to rest and reproduce during the breeding season.

Different types of crested tern

Tern is a diverse and interesting group of birds of the world. Each species is unique and interesting in itself. The least tern is the smallest tern, only 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) long. The Caspian tern is the largest of these birds in the world, with an impressive length of 17.7-23.6 in (45-60 cm). The Arctic tern is a little bird that is the world record holder for the longest migration time of any animal. Greater crested terns are in danger of extinction.

How many Chinese crested terns are left?

According to the International Bird League, there are only 50 individuals left in the world. The breeding sites lie in China. However, every winter (October to April), this wild bird roams in Manila, Sarawak and Hamahela, and Seram Island in Maluku. Fortunately, the island is already a nature reserve, so there is some degree of protection here, but stealing eggs to eat is a problem in this nature reserve especially during the breeding season.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our western bluebird surprising facts and pileated woodpecker interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable gray butcherbird coloring pages.

Main image by Oregon State University.

Second image by Oregon State University.

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