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Systematic classification and distribution
Species: C. hybridus Pallas, 1811
The leaded mignattino arrives in Italy in early April, after having spent the winter in distant western Africa. Swamps, lagoons, reservoirs are his favorite habitat.
- Chlidonias hybridus hybridus
- Chlidonias hybridus delalandii
- Chlidonias hybridus javanicus
Leaded pinkie - Chlidonias hybridus (photo http://hidephotography.com)
Leaded pinkie - Chlidonias hybridus (photo Stefano Guiducci)
Leaded pinkie - Chlidonias hybridus
Length: 23-25 cm
Wingspan: 74-78 cm
Weight: 79-94 gr
Adult males and females are indistinguishable. In a wedding dress they have the whole gray body, including the wings which are however lighter on the outside with a small blackish part on the ends on the back, and also the over tail. The vertex is black while the cheeks and throat are white. The undertail and the back of the abdomen are white. Beak and legs are dark red. The lower part of the wings is light gray with a small blackish part in correspondence with the same blackish area of the upper part.
In the winter dress the parts of the body and wings that were gray become light gray and the chest and abdomen white. The forehead is white and fades on the back of the black vertex with fine white speckles. The beak becomes almost completely blackish and the legs remain dark red. The young resemble the adults in winter clothes, however, having more black on the head and the tawny back with blackish speckles. The legs are dark red - blackish.
Feeding is mainly composed of small aquatic invertebrates (including larval and adult forms of insects, such as Diptera, Culicides, Tipulids and Odonates, Crustaceans and Annelids), amphibians in larval and juvenile stages and small fish. It arrives on Italian skies in spring, after the long winter spent on the Atlantic coast of Africa. Here it nests by placing two or three eggs in a nest on the ground, but also, very often, on floating plants such as water lilies in particular