Black-bellied Tern appears in Yunnan again after 16 years

On April 8th, a black-bellied tern was found in a group of photos recently taken by Chen Jintang, a photographer coming from Guangdong province.  


A black-bellied tern (photo by Chen Jintang) 

The black-bellied tern (Sterna acuticauda) is a tern found near large rivers in the Indian subcontinent, its range extending from Pakistan, Nepal and India to Myanmar. It has become very scarce in the eastern part of its range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being endangered. In China, the resident black-bellied tern is only found in Yingjiang region of Yunnan. It has been listed as one of the wild animals under second-class national protection since February of this year. 


A black-bellied tern (photo by Chen Jintang) 

“The last record of this species in China was in 1960, and its specimen was collected in Jinjiang on 11th May, 1960. After that it seemed to disappear in China,” Professor Liu Yang, an ornithologist of Sun Yat-sen University, said. 

This black-bellied tern was spotted on March 23rd, when Chen Jinjiang was photographing birds along the coast of DaYingjiang river. He didn’t realize that it is a rare bird until he looked at the photos recently. 


Black-bellied terns (photo by Zhu Bianyong) 

The basin of DaYingjiang river is the only place in China to watch and photograph river tern, one rare species of terns that under first-class national protection. Only 10 river terns have been observed in China so far, including three chicks hatched in March of this year. 

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(Editors:Alison, Rachel)

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