Common Tern Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Common Terns have long, narrow, angular wings and pointed wingtips. Unlike gulls, this tern has a straight, slender bill. The tail is forked and the legs are short.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Least Tern, smaller than a Caspian Tern.

    Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 12.2-15.0 in (31-38 cm)
      • Weight: 3.3-7.0 oz (93-200 g)
      • Wingspan: 29.5-31.5 in (75-80 cm)