Medium-sized tern with thick black bill. Very pale overall with black cap in breeding plumage. Legs black. Nonbreeding plumage shows small dark cheek patch. Found both coastally and inland in a variety of wetland habitats, including beaches, mudflats, freshwater marshes, and even wet fields. Occasionally joins flocks with other terns, but more often seen singly or in pairs. Graceful in flight; swoops over ponds and marshes where it grabs invertebrates from the surface. Formerly considered part of Gull-billed Tern, and limits of the range of that species and Australian in New Guinea and southern Indonesia poorly understood.