Kiritimati: White Terns on Cook Islet

White terns (Gygis alba), also known as angel or fairy terns, are a strikingly distinct seabird species and were plentiful n the Cook Islet. White terns are easily recognizable by their striking white plumage, slender body, long pointed wings, and a distinctive black eye mask and a black and blue bill. They nest on coral atolls and lay eggs on branches and logs without any nest, often is very precarious positions. When the little puffballs of chicks hatch they continue to hang on to the tree branches for their life. White terns flutter and hang above you a you approach the nesting ground, truly like little white angels. White terns feed mainly on small fish, that chicks swallow whole. Interestingly, sailors would use the bird’s direction of flight to help them navigate toward land, as the white terns usually fly out to sea in the morning to feed and then return to land at night.