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Update: from May 05, 2011: an adult almost in full alternate plumage aspect:

Update: from May 05, 2011: a selection of birds of various ages and plumages/molt stages:

May 24, 2006: this photo is from August 2005; a very pale-headed (molting) adult:

This one from May 24, 2006 has somewhat reddish legs:

This juvenile Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) was at Benbrook Lake, Tarrant County, Texas on September 18, 2002. In flight it appeared to show a gray band along the flanks from the darker shoulder patch to the rear of the wing (contrasting with the white belly), as expected for the Nearctic form surinamensis. However, the pattern of black on the head appears virtually identical to the norm for nominate niger. The head pattern for surinamensis is typically less-full, with a shorter extension of black down the nape, and with much more white in the crown - often looking white-streaked-black rather than the opposite, and thus being much closer to the head pattern of White-winged Tern (C. leucopterus). Compare this bird to the two perched juvs in plates 185, 187 of TERNS by Olsen and Larson.
While surinamensis has been documented in Western Europe, niger has not yet been documented in the Americas (update: - there are two claims of niger from Barbados) - surely it occurs here at least as often as C. leucopterus? This individual demonstrates more variation in surinamensis than previously described. In addition to the different flank markings, there may be a difference in the patagial coverts (leading lesser underwing coverts):- contrastingly dark in surinamensis, but uniform with the other underwing coverts in niger - as first pointed-out by Anthony McGeehan in BIRDING WORLD:

Update: Sept 21, 2002: added to bottom of page some comparative images of niger, surinamensis, and Chlidonias leucopterus, thanks to Norman Van Swelm who kindly sent me some interesting comparative images from the Netherlands:
a) juvenile C. n. niger, October:

b) juvenile C. n. niger, October:

c) Claimed juvenile C. n. surinamensis, November, in the Netherlands. I have been informed that this sighting has not been submitted or reviewed by the Dutch RBC - my apologies if I created the impression it was a formally accepted record - but it IS a good candidate:

d) adult and Juv. C. n. niger, October:

In this zoom (below left) of the rightmost niger above, note the pale but visible patch of gray on the flanks immediately to the right of the dark shoulder patch; note the different extent and shape of this gray on the flank compared to the surinamensis above, and this one from Texas in Aug(below right, by Martin Reid):

e) juvenile C. n. niger from England in September (by Martin Reid) - it too has a small amount of light gray on the flanks behind the shoulder patch:

Finally here is a juvenile White-winged Tern (C. leucopterus) from England in August (by Martin Reid):