Common TernSterna hirundo
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
A graceful, black-and-white waterbird, the Common Tern is the most widespread tern in North America. It can be seen plunging from the air into water to catch small fish along rivers, lakes, and oceans.More ID Info
- Charrán Común (Spanish)
- Sterne pierregarin (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Common Tern drinks mainly on the wing, gliding with its wings slightly raised and dipping its bill several times into the water.
- Common Terns living along the coast drink salt water. They do not seek fresh water even when it is available nearby. Like many seabirds, they have nasal glands that excrete the excess salt.
- The incubating adult Common Tern flies off its nest to defecate 5-50 m (16-160 ft) away. It deposits its feces indiscriminately in nearby water or on the territories of other terns.
- The oldest recorded Common Tern was at least 25 years, 1 month old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in New York.