- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
Gull-billed Terns are graceful fliers that swoop above saltmarshes and beaches. They're pale silvery gray and white, with a shallowly forked tail, heavy bill, and (in summer) a neat black cap. The heavy bill is a key to its diet, which is broader than a typical tern's and does not center on fish. They forage in the air for insects, seize crabs and lizards from the ground, pluck fish from the water surface (without diving into the water), steal food from other birds, and even prey on chicks of other species.More ID Info
- Pagaza piconegra (Spanish)
- Sterne hansel (French)
- Cool Facts
- Unlike most terns, the Gull-billed Tern has a broad diet and does not depend on fish. Instead it commonly feeds on insects, small crabs, and other prey snatched from the ground, air, or even bushes. It is also known to eat small chicks of other tern species.
- Although mostly restricted to salt water habitats in North America, the Gull-billed Tern is found in a variety of fresh water habitats across Eurasia.
- The oldest recorded Gull-billed Tern lived to be at least 20 years old and was found, and banded, in California.