A Little Tern Love Story

By Nicki Johnson / HICN / Updated: 15:48,27-September-2021

The Little Tern, a graceful seabird, is the star of Discovering Mysteries Season Two Episode 9. These birds are commonly seen in China, where they breed every summer.


A temporary sand dune on the coast in Laocheng, Chengmai, Hainan is the ideal mating location for Little Terns. On the shore, Little Terns begin to pair up and mate, ushering in their most important breeding season. The breeding season of the Little Tern, which breeds in pairs or small groups, lasts from May - July.


In the shot, a mother bird selects a secluded area of sand and prepares to lay her eggs. The surface layer of sand conducts the heat of the sun, beginning to incubate the eggs. Under the scorching sun, the surface temperature has already exceeded 65° C. The mother bird periodically returns to the nest to cool the developing eggs.

The mother bird periodically returns to the nest to cool the developing eggs. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

After waiting 20 days, her weak, new-hatched chicks begin to peck their way out of the shells and leave the nest to find shelter from the scorching sun. 
The high temperatures and dry climate pose a real threat to their young life. The mother hurries home just in time and calls them back to the nest. 

At noon, the sun’s heat is oppressive. The parched chick looks longingly for its mother. At the moment, the mother bird is at the shore soaking her feathers as much as possible. The chick can’t take any more and instinctively seeks shelter. However, the chick goes back to the nest when the mother bird rushes back. At this time, the mother bird cools down her thirsty chick with the moisture she’s collected in her plumage. 

Screenshot from Little Tern, Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 9. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

In addition to the dangers of the inhospitable climate, the chicks are also vulnerable to predators. The baby birds are excellent climbers, and their mother leads them up to a safe location where these young creatures will face new challenges. 


Our journey through the mangrove forest and wetlands has come to an end for now. Next time, we will take you to the rainforest. See you there!

Screenshot from Little Tern, Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 9. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 started being broadcasted worldwide on August 2. The first part of Discovering Mysteries Season 2 focuses on the wetlands and the mangrove forest. Season 2 will have a total of 24 episodes, each running around 4 minutes. This season explores the mangrove forest, the wetlands, Baihualing, and the rainforests of Wuzhishan, as well as Jiaxi and the Exianling nature reserve.

This is Hainan: Discovering Mysteries is a short documentary series that shines a light on Hainan’s ecological and cultural geography. It reveals Hainan’s natural environment, focusing on nature, ecological protection, and scientific research, giving viewers a look inside the natural ecology of the Hainan Free Trade Port, the many plant and animal species native to the island, and the achievements of the national ecological culture pilot zone.

Open the New Hainan App, Hinews, or Nanguo Metropolis Daily, or the Hainan International Communication Network (https://www.hicn.cn/) to watch the ninth episode, Little Tern!

Click the links to see more episodes of Discovering Mysteries:

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Collection

Discovering Mysteries Season 1 Collection 

Producers: Guo Zhimin, Wu Bin, Han Chaoguang

Production Supervisor: Luo Jianli

Executive Supervisors: Hu Xufa, Lin Ying , Yu Weihui, Ao Kun

Filmmaker / Director: Li Xiaogang

Writers: Mi Hongxu, Li Xiaogang

Videography: Xu Wei, Liu Sunmou, Mi Hongshu, Zheng Ziyu, Li Xiaogang

Editors: Li Xiaogang, Xu Wei

Special Videography: Feng Erhui, Chen Zhengping, Luo Lixiang, Lü Shiyang

Narrator: Liu Yang

Print Media Design: Gong Yuming

Translator:Nicki Johnson

Jointly Produced by: The Hainan Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park Management Office and the Hainan Wild Plant & Animal Protection Management Office

With special thanks to: Hainan Pingtouge Culture Media Co. Ltd.

Jointly Produced by: New Hainan APP, Hainan International Media Center and Hinews

A production of: Nanguo Metropolis Daily



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