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Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) and Snowy-crowned Tern (Sterna trudeaui), Havell plate no. 409
Date: 1821; 1838
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Medium: Watercolor, graphite, black ink, pastel, and gouache with selective glazing on two sheets of paper, laid on card
Dimensions: Mat: 23 x 29 in. (58.4 x 73.7 cm) Sheet (paper): 14 3/4 × 21 7/16 in. (37.5 × 54.5 cm)
Place made: Europe, England, London
Description: Forster's tern, winter plumage, above; Trudeau's tern, below; Audubon originally named one of these birds "Havell's Tern", after his engraver Robert Havell Jr.
Credit Line: Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon
Object Number: 1863.17.409
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Inscribed: Inscribed at lower left in graphite: "Sterna Phillipsi 1."; at lower center: "Sterna Trudeaui 2. --"; above right: "[cut]… in the Eddy -- / New Orleans in the Winter of 20-21 when thousands of / the same Species were gambolling over the River - I then / Drew it - but have no Skins of it; and through fear of / Confusing myself I dare not publish it -- / I have notwithstanding named it -- "Black billed Tern" / & Sterna Ludoviciana - / J.J.A. ---"

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Trudeau's tern is a South American species which has not been found in the U.S. since Audubon's time.


"John James Audubon's Birds of North America: The Original Watercolors," New-York Historical Society, April 8- September 14, 1985.