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Arctic Tern

From Opus

Revision as of 15:13, 26 June 2009 by Deliatodd-18346 (Talk | contribs)
Breeding adult Arctic Tern Photo by mikemikLocation: Akureyri, Iceland, August 2007
Breeding adult Arctic Tern
Photo by mikemik
Location: Akureyri, Iceland, August 2007
Sterna paradisaea



Length 33–39 cm, mass 76-116 g. Breeding adult: Black forehead, nape and crown and white cheeks; the mantle, back and upper wings are grey and the collar, rump and underwing are white. The deeply forked tail is white with grey outer webs. The long bill, legs and feet are red.
Non-breeding adult and immature: Forehead white, crown streaked black and white, nape black. The bill is black and the legs and feet dark red to blackish.

Similar Species

Similar to Common Tern, but has shorter bill and legs, and has pure white (rather than pale grey) rump and tail.

Immature Arctic Tern Photo by jtwoodLocation: Shetland Islands
Immature Arctic Tern
Photo by jtwood
Location: Shetland Islands


Breeds in arctic and sub-arctic Europe, Asia, and North America. Migrates to the Antarctic for another summer. Accidental in Kansas.


This is a monotypic species. [3]


Oceans. Nests on islands in the Arctic.



The diet includes fish and small marine invertebrates.


The nest is a depression in the ground and 1-3 mottled eggs are laid. Both parents incubate the eggs for 27 days; the young fledge after 21–24 days.


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  1. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  2. Wikipedia. 2008. Arctic Tern downloaded 25 December 2008.
  3. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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