Very small coastal tern with forked tail. Nests on sandy beaches, where it is sensitive to disturbance. Very similar to Little Tern, which overlaps in range in parts of southern Australia. In breeding plumage, note yellow bill (in southern Australia lacking black tip) and orange-yellow legs. In contrast to Little Tern, Fairy has a gap between the black in front of eyes and the bill (in breeding Little, the black extends to the bill). In nonbreeding plumage, bill much darker. Hunts by flying low over the water and plunging down to snatch prey from the surface. New Zealand subspecies very rare and breeds only at four sites on the east coast of the southern Northland.