Black Tern Identification

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Adult Description

  • Small, dark tern.
  • In breeding plumage dark head and chest and gray wings are distinctive.
  • In nonbreeding plumage, head and underside white, wings gray, and dark spot behind eye and dusky crown and nape.

Immature Description

Similar to nonbreeding adult, but with pale scaling on back.
Relative Size

Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow
  • Both Sexes
    • Length: 9.1-10.2 in (23-26 cm)
    • Weight: 1.8-2.1 oz (50-60 g)
    • Wingspan: 22.4-23.6 in (57-60 cm)