Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

1 Photos

This medium-sized tern inhabits open ocean, beaches, and large lakes. Adults display a pale gray body with a distinctive black cap. The bill color varies by subspecies, mostly featuring a red bill with a black tip; however, certain Asian variants have entirely black bills. Young birds exhibit dark outer primaries, a dark shoulder, and black restricted to the back of the neck. Resembling Forster''s, Arctic, and Roseate Terns, it can be told apart from breeding Forster's Tern by its uniformly gray upperwings; nonbreeding Forster's displays a black ear patch. It possesses a slightly longer bill and shorter tail than the Arctic Tern, along with a lighter body. Shorter-tailed and darker overall compared to the dazzling white Roseate Tern, it is often sighted in sizable flocks, particularly in late summer, emitting a harsh screeching call "KEEE-yurrrr."

Photo of Common Tern