While I was lying in the sand waiting for an opportunity, the male Least Tern flew in and landed next to his mate. He had a fish in his mouth and kept turning his head from side to side in a jerky fashion. The female turned her head also but not as much. This went on for about five minutes. I was waiting for the male to feed the fish to the female. Instead he jumped on top of the female and they started to mate. The whole procedure took about a minute and toward the end the male fed the fish to the female. Unfortunately I was not fast enough to capture the handoff.
Least Terns in mating behavior
Stone Harbor, NJ
Copyright 2001 William H. Scholtz.
Last revised: Feb 23, 2001