Birds at the Ponds > Index

Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds

The Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) is the world’s largest tern, measuring approximately 48–60 cm in length, and a wingspan of 127–145 cm.

The adult birds have black legs, and a long thick red-orange bill with a black tip. They have a white head with a black cap and white neck, belly, and tail. The Capsian Tern upper wings and back are pale grey and the underwings are pale with dark primary feathers. When in flight, the tail is less forked than seen in other terns, and the wingtips are black on the underside. The black cap is still present in winter (unlike many other terns), but with some white streaking on the forehead.

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds

The Caspian Tern feed mainly on fish, sighting them whilst hovering high over the water and then diving into the water to catch the prey. They are also known to eat insects, the eggs and young of other birds and rodents.

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer
Birds at the Ponds, including Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer
Birds at the Ponds, including Caspian Tern, Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Informal: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Subfamily: Sterninae
  • Tribe: Sternini
  • Genus: Hydroprogne
  • Species: Hydroprogne caspia

Footnote & References

  1. Hydroprogne caspia (Pallas, 1770), Caspian Tern, Atlas of Living Australia,

Birds at the PondsBirds Index Australasian Grebe Australasian Shoveler Australian Hobby Australian Pratincole Australian Shelduck Australian Spotted Crake Baillon’s Crake Banded Stilt Bar-tailed Godwit Black-faced Woodswallow Black-tailed Godwit Black-tailed Native Hen Black-shouldered Kite Black Falcon Black Swan Brown Falcon Budgerigar Buff-banded Rail Caspian Tern Common Sandpiper Crimson Chat Flock Bronzewing Glossy Ibis Gull-billed Tern Hoary-headed Grebe Musk Duck Orange Chat Pied Stilt Plumed Whistling-Duck Red-kneed Dotterel Red-necked Avocet Red-necked Stint Ruff Sanderling Splendid Fairy-wren Straw-necked Ibis Variegated Fairywren Wedge-tailed Eagle Whiskered Tern Whistling Kite White-winged Fairywren Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation PondsBirds Insects Spiders Wildlife Landscape Landscape of Birds

Alice Springs AttractionsAlice Springs Desert Park Alice Springs Reptile Centre Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds Alice Springs Walks Untyeyetwelye • ANZAC Hill Araluen Cultural Precinct Bird Watching in Alice Springs and Central Australia Central Australian Aviation Museum The Gathering Garden John Flynn’s Grave Historical Reserve Kunoth Bore Olive Pink Botanic Garden Royal Flying Doctor Service Women’s Musuem of Australia

Alice SpringsAlice Springs Accommodation Alice Springs Pet Friendly Accommodation Alice Springs Art & Culture Alice Springs Attractions Alice Springs Directory Alice Springs Distance Alice Springs Festival & Events Alice Springs Flora and Fauna Alice Springs Fauna Alice Springs Flora Getting Around Alice Springs Alice Springs Aboriginal Tours Alice Springs Tours Alice Springs Tours – Other