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Breeding (May - ca. July): Black head, breast and belly. Uniform grey back, wings and rump/tail. White undertail. Bill black. Dark legs.
Non-breeding: Underparts white, grey above. Falcon-like black hood. Characteristic black (or dark brown) line above shoulder, extending onto outer edges of breast. Legs orange/red. Bill black. Tail off-white with grey rump and upper tail coverts (white in White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus).
Juvenile: Like non-breeding adult but with distinct buff/lighter edges to back feathers and coverts.
The range of the Black Tern is almost worldwide.
Chlidonias niger has two subspecies:
Freshwater lakes, gravel pits and reservoirs, marshes, wet grassland, seacoast and estuaries.
The diet includes insects, invertebrates and fish.
The nest is usually floating vegetation in shallow water (possibly on the ground close to water). The clutch consists of 2-4 eggs which are incubated for 21-22 days. The young fledge after 19-25 days.
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