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Charadriiformes > Laridae

Roseate Tern

Sterna dougallii

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Identification

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Graceful pale tern with extremely long forked tail. Named for faint rosy wash on belly. Bill color varies geographically; Old World birds arrive on breeding grounds with a black bill that turns to red, while New World birds arrive with a red bill that turns darker. Similar to Common Tern, but notably whiter wings. With practice, look for shallow, choppier wingbeats to distinguish from other tern species. Widespread across the globe but local, breeding in scattered colonies, often on offshore islands. Can be found mixed in flocks with other terns on beaches, mudflats, or estuaries. Listen for harsh two-parted call "chivick."

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Learn more about Roseate Tern from…

All About Birds

Your Online Guide To Birds And Bird Watching

Birds of North America

Comprehensive life histories of North American breeding birds

Neotropical Birds

Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America