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Length 33ā39 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.
Similar to Common Tern, but has shorter bill and legs, and has pure white (rather than pale grey) rump and tail.
This is a monotypic species. 
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 21ā24 days.
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