Arctic TernSterna paradisaea
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
A small, slender white bird, the Arctic Tern is well known for its long yearly migration. Its travel from its Arctic breeding grounds to its wintering grounds off of Antarctica may cover perhaps 40,000 km (25,000 mi), and is the farthest yearly journey of any bird.More ID Info
- Charrán Ártico (Spanish)
- Sterne arctique (French)
- Cool Facts
- Most Arctic Terns return to the area where they were hatched, often to the same colony. One individual, however, was banded as a chick in northwestern Russia and found two years later in eastern Greenland.
- Downy Arctic Tern hatchlings come in two colors: gray or brown. Chicks within the same brood may be of different colors.
- Arctic Tern can live for decades. They usually do not begin to breed until they are three or four years old.
- The oldest recorded Arctic Tern was at least 34 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in Maine.
- When molting its wing feathers during the winter, the Arctic Tern rarely flies, instead spending much of its time resting on small blocks of ice at the edge of the pack ice. Its molt happens so quickly that some individuals are nearly flightless for a while.