Tern, Common

The common tern is 31–35 cm (12–14 in) long, including a 6–9 cm (2.4–3.5 in) fork in the tail, with a 77–98 cm (30–39 in) wingspan. It weighs 110–141 g (3.9–5.0 oz). Breeding adults have pale grey upperparts, very pale grey underparts, a black cap, orange-red legs, and a narrow pointed bill that can be mostly red with a black tip, or all black, depending on the subspecies. The common tern's upperwings are pale grey, but as the summer wears on, the dark feather shafts of the outer flight feathers become exposed, and a grey wedge appears on the wings. The rump and tail are white, and on a standing bird the long tail extends no further than the folded wingtips, unlike the Arctic and roseate terns in which the tail protrudes beyond the wings. There are no significant differences between the sexes. In non-breeding adults the forehead and underparts become white, the bill is all black or black with a red base, and the legs are dark red or black. The upperwings have an obvious dark area at the front edge of the wing, the carpal bar. 

Latin Name
Sterna hirundo

When the bird was spotted

Date Location Title Seen by Interestingness
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Saltholme b.m.stokesley ***
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Saltholme b.m.stokesley **
Germany, Dagebüll Gotteskoogsee Hühnerhabicht
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Saltholme b.m.stokesley ***
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors South Gare b.m.stokesley ***
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Greatham Creek b.m.stokesley ***
Germany, Kandern 3 terns nosediving in the Altrhein near Bad Bellingen Hühnerhabicht ***
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Saltholme b.m.stokesley
UK, Teesside and the North York Moors Saltholme mike421
UK, Farne Islands Lots and lots of them nesting on Staple Island mike421 **