The family Laridae is composed of two chief groups, Larinae and Sterninae - the gulls and the terns, though two other subfamilies are frequently counted, the skuas (Stercorariinae), and that formed by the single genus Rhynchops, the skimmers; but there seems no strong reason why the former should not be referred to the Larinae and the latter to the Sterninae.
Setting aside those which are but occasional visitors to the British Islands, six species of terns may be regarded as indigenous, though of them one has ceased from ordinarily breeding in the United Kingdom, while a second has become so rare and regularly appears in so few places that mention of them must for prudence sake be avoided.
All around the coast the diminution in the numbers of the remaining species of terns is no less deplorable than demonstrable.
Terns are found all over the world, and among exotic forms may be particularly mentioned the various species of noddy.
Often confounded with these last are the two species called in books sooty terns (S.
On the coasts a number of gulls and terns are found, also the eider-duck and the sea-eagle, which, however, is also distributed far over the land.
Herons, hawks, terns, Egyptian geese, fishing eagles (Gypohierax), the weaver and the whydah bird are found in the lower and middle Congo.
In the marshes of the Salt Lake breed grebes, gulls and terns, and formerly the white pelican.
The islands are the home of a large number of birds, including terns, gannets and white egrets, though most of the indigenous species are extinct.
On the rocky headlands and islands of the coast nest thousands of gulls, cormorants, puffins, guillemots, surf-ducks (Oedemia), dotterels, terns, petrels and numerous other birds.
It is tenanted by myriads of sea-fowl, frigate-birds, boobies, and terns (Gygis candida), which find here an excellent nesting-place, for the island is uninhabited, and is visited only once or twice a year.
In addition to the penguins numerous other sea birds nest on the islands, as petrels, albatrosses, terns, skuas and prions.
Several varieties of water-fowl, especially curlews, pelicans, gulls, ducks, terns, geese and snipe, are found in the vicinity of the lakes.
The sea-elephant and sea-leopard are characteristic. Penguins of various kinds are abundant; a teal (Querquedula Eatoni) peculiar to Kerguelen and the Crozets is also found in considerable numbers, and petrels, especially the giant petrel (Ossifraga gigantea), skuas, gulls, sheath-bills (Chionis minor), albatross, terns, cormorants and Cape pigeons frequent the island.
Game birds include ducks, geese, plovers, snipe, loons, grebes, terns, rails, the woodcock and the ruffed grouse; quails are scarce except on Long Island, where a number or young birds are liberated each year, and by the same mea 's a supply of pheasants is maintained in some parts of the state.
Those of the redshank, of the golden plover (to a small extent), and enormous numbers of those of the black-headed gull, and in certain places of some of the terns, are, however, sold as lapwings', having a certain similarity of shell to the latter, and a difference of flavour only to be detected by a fine palate.