Common Tern

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Common Name: Common Tern
Scientific Name: Sterna hirundo

Size: 13-14.5 inches (34-37 cm)

Habitat: North America and Eurasia; a circumpolar distribution breeding in temperate and sub-Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and east and central North America. It is strongly migratory, wintering in the subtropical and tropical oceans. Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 1,600,000 - 4,600,000 mature individuals.

Diet: Fish and small marine invertebrates; in fresh or saltwater.

Nesting: This species breeds in colonies on coasts and islands and often inland on suitable freshwater lakes. This latter practice is assisted by the provision of floating "tern rafts" to give a safe breeding area. It lays two to four eggs. Like many white terns, it is very defensive of its nest and young and will attack humans and other large predators, but unlike the more aggressive Arctic Tern rarely hits the intruder, usually swerving off at the last moment.

Cool Facts: The Common Tern is sometimes known as the sea swallow. The old Scottish word for the Common Tern is "pictar". The Common Tern is most readily confused within its range with the similar Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) and Roseate Tern (Sterna dougalli); its long tail extends only to the wingtips on the standing bird, unlike Arctic and Roseate Terns, which extend past the wingtips. It is not as pale as Roseate Tern, and has longer wings.

Found in Songbird ReMix Seabirds 1

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