Sunday, March 15, 2015

TAAF 2015 Stamp Issue
Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata)

:: TAAF (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises)
 :: THEME: Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata)
  :: NOMINAL VALUE: 2.40€ 
   :: ISSUE DATE: 1 January 2015
    :: STAMP DESIGN: Lavergne 

The Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata) is a typical tern. It ranges throughout the southern oceans. It is very similar in appearance to the closely related Arctic tern, but is stockier, and the wing tips are grey instead of blackish in flight. It is, of course, in breeding plumage in the southern summer, when the Arctic tern has moulted to its non-breeding plumage (though this is not useful for separating it from another species, the South American tern).

Breeding takes place from mid-November to early December. Chicks hatch from December to February. Skuas and jaegers are the primary predators of this bird's eggs and young.

The total global population of this bird is around 140,000 individuals.

Antarctic tern on nest
ARKive species - Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata)
{ image courtesy of © Peter Steyn :: www.ardea.com }

There are six listed subspecies of the Antarctic tern:
:: S. v. tristanensis – (Murphy, 1938): Tristan da Cunha & Gough Island.
:: S. v. sanctipauli – (Gould, 1865): St. Paul & Amsterdam Islands.
:: S. v. georgiae – (Reichenow, 1904): South Georgia, South Orkney & South Sandwich Islands.
:: S. v. gaini – (Murphy, 1938): South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula & nearby islands.
:: S. v. vittata – (Gmelin, 1789): Prince Edward, Crozet, Kerguelen, Bouvet & Heard Islands.
:: S. v. bethunei – (Buller, 1896): Stewart, Snares, Auckland, Bounty, Antipodes, Campbell & Macquarie Islands.

Antarctic tern landing at breeding site
ARKive image - Antarctic tern landing at breeding site
 {image courtesy of © Bill Coster :: www.ardea.com }