Living Bird Magazine
Forster's TernSterna forsteri
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
One of several medium-sized terns that are similar in appearance, the Forster's Tern breeds primarily in marshes and winters along the coasts. The comma-shaped black ear patch in winter plumage is distinctive, but some other plumages are very confusing.More ID Info
- Charrán de Forster (Spanish)
- Sterne de Forster (French)
- Cool Facts
- Forster's Tern is the only tern restricted almost entirely to North America throughout the year.
- Spawning common carp are so vigorous that they can dislodge Forster's Tern eggs from floating nests.
- Forster's and Black terns breed near each other in marshes. Wandering semi-precocial young may account for observations of each species feeding the other's young.
- The oldest known Forster's Tern was at least 15 years, 10 months old when it was killed by contaminants in California in 1989. It had been banded in the same state in 1973.