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Sterna caspia  Caspian Tern
In Louisiana, these ground-nesting piscivores breed strictly along the coast. The "Possible" records probably represent birds that have commuted some distance from their breeding colonies to feed.

photo Copyright 1999 by Brian Miller 
male or female

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Sterna fuscata  Sooty Tern
This tropical tern is Louisiana's most pelagic (seafaring) nesting bird. The only confirmed breeding of these colonial, ground-nesting piscivores during the survey was from the Chandeleur Islands, but a few may nest on small artificial islands near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Unlike most terns, sooties typically feed by swooping and snatching food off the water, and they defer breeding until 6-8 years of age.

photos Copyright 1999 by Gayle Strickland 
juvenile and (inset) male or female

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Rynchops niger  Black Skimmer
These colonial, ground-nesting piscivores are primarily coastal, but a few regularly nest on graveled rooftops in the New Orleans area. A skimmer feeds by flying low over water, dipping its lower mandible into the water for several seconds while flying, and quickly clamping down with the upper mandible upon touching a fish.

parents and juvenile (lower) Copyright 1999 by Brian Miller 
main photo Copyright 1999 by Bill Bergen