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Charadriiformes > Laridae

Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea

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Identification

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Elegant seabird with extremely long wings and forked tail. Adults are pale gray with white cheek, black cap, and red bill and legs. Very similar to Common Tern; note shorter bill, shorter legs, gray belly, and paler gray wingtips with very limited dark tips. Young birds show partial black cap and black bill and legs; look for pale gray wingtips and stubbier legs to separate from Common Tern. Rarely seen away from breeding grounds on coastal islands or small ponds in the Arctic tundra. Migrates offshore, heading for wintering grounds in Southern Hemisphere.

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Learn more about Arctic Tern from…

All About Birds

Your Online Guide To Birds And Bird Watching

Birds of North America

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