Tern, Arctic

Arctic terns are medium-sized birds. They have a length of 28–39 cm and a wingspan of 65–75 cm .They are mainly grey and white plumaged, with a red/orangish beak and feet, white forehead, a black nape and crown (streaked white), and white cheeks. The grey mantle is 305 mm, and the scapulae are fringed brown, some tipped white. The upper wing is grey with a white leading edge, and the collar is completely white, as is the rump. The deeply forked tail is whitish, with grey outer webs.

Arctic terns are long-lived birds, with many reaching fifteen to thirty years of age. They eat mainly fish and small marine invertebrates. The species is abundant, with an estimated one million individuals. While the trend in the number of individuals in the species as a whole is not known, exploitation in the past has reduced this bird's numbers in the southern reaches of its range.

They are best told from the very similar common tern by the lack of black on the end of the bill.

Latin Name
Sterna paradisaea


Arctic Tern

When the bird was spotted

Date Location Title Seen by Interestingness
UK, Farne Islands Staple Island mike421