The Central American Tern

Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.


The Central American Tern is the world’s most restless migratory bird, flying from Northern Mexico to the jungles of Columbia and back again up to six times a year. Avian experts believe that the original Central American Terns were the product of relationships between Arctic Terns and Antarctic Terns who were resting in Central America when they were on their long annual migrations. This meant the Central American Tern had tremendous innate stamina for flying for long periods of time, but also caused the bird to be conflicted about where it wanted to be in the world, hence the almost constant flying north and south.

When they are at rest, Central American Terns have a tremendous appetite and one tern can strip a tree of all its fruit and berries in about an hour. These Terns procreate on the wing and use previously built communal nests when they are resting from their latest migration. If a female Tern is pregnant, she will not migrate with the other birds but will stay in the communal nest and sit on the eggs until they hatch. She will find food for the chicks, whilst her mate flies back. The communal nests are guarded by about a dozen Terns, who are either feeling unwell or haven’t found a mate. These guards keep away any predators by attacking en masse, putting to flight any animal who wanted to eat the eggs or young chicks.

Central American Terns returns to the same areas of Mexico and Columbia on each migration, so the female knows her mate will come back in around seven weeks, by which time both she and her fledglings will be strong enough to take part in the next migration.

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