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Chinese crested tern spotted again in Manila Bay after 100 years

A Chinese crested tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) has been spotted once again in Manila Bay after a long 100 years!

According to Kuya Kim's report on "24 Oras," Tuesday, the rare bird was photographed by bird watcher Irene Dy.

Also called the Bird of Legend, it was believed that this bird had been extinct, but in the year 2000, it was finally seen again in nature.

"'Yung ulo niya ay mayroong short na crest. Kapag siya ay nagbi-breed, nagiging itim ang kulay ng ulo niya. Pero kapag non-breeding, 'yung forehead niya ay white," Dr. Carmela Española said.

Chinese crested terns are often mistaken for greater crested terns (Thalasseus bergii).

But aside from their size, they also differ in the appearance of their beaks. The tips of Chinese crested terns' beaks are black in color, while those of greater crested terns' beaks are yellow.

The earliest recorded sighting of the Chinese crested tern in the Philippines was in 1886, but it was only in 1905 that it was first seen in Manila Bay.

Since then, the Chinese crested tern has become elusive and difficult to spot. The next sighting was in 2018 in Davao.

Following its recent sighting in Manila Bay, many bird watchers have also visited the area in hope of seeing the rare bird.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, aside from this bird being very rare, it is also about to become extinct because of the illegal collection of its eggs, typhoons, the disturbance of their nesting colonies, and other threats.

—Carby Basina/MGP, GMA Integrated News