Tropical tern with gray back, black cap, and white forehead. Does not breed in North America, only seen offshore in warm water. Very rarely seen near land except when blown off course by a hurricane. Frequently perches on floating wood or other debris far offshore. Most similar to Sooty Tern but paler gray above with more extensive white tail edges and paler undersides of flight feathers. Young birds show whitish head with pale barring on wings and back.