Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea



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Photos from this Account

Breeding adult

Small, slender tern with angular wings that are silvery below. Breeding adults have a thin red bill and a gray belly. Note long forked tail.

Breeding adult

Short-legged tern with a long tail that extends beyond the wingtips while at rest on breeding adults. Bill and legs are bright red on breeding adults.


Short-legged, slender tern. Nonbreeding birds have a reduced black cap that extends back from the eye. The legs and bill are black during the nonbreeding season.

Breeding adult

Small tern with a long, forked tail and pointed all gray wings. Plunge dives for small fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.

Breeding adult

Males often feed females small fish during courtship and to maintain pair bonds.


Juveniles have a scaly-looking back and a smudgy black crown with a white forehead.


Nests on the ground in open tundra, boreal forest, or on rocky islands and beaches.

Recommended Citation

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: