Small with narrow, pointed wings. Breeding birds have a black crown and a white forehead. In flight, note black edge on outer flight feathers.
Smallest tern in North America. Thin yellow bill and yellow legs during the breeding season help separate it from similar species.
Very small, neatly marked tern with white forehead and yellow bill (often with black tip).
Very small tern. Juveniles have a barred or scaly looking back and yellow legs. The crown patch on this bird is small and smudgy brown; others can have a darker black partial crown.
Chicks are tiny balls of fluff that leave the nest after about 2 days.
Smallest North American tern, with a yellow bill and white forehead. In flight, note pointed wings and black outer edge on the primaries.
Immature birds have a small smudgy black patch behind the eye and a dark bill unlike adults, but they still have yellow legs.
Adult DescriptionSmall tern. During breeding, black cap ending at white forehead. Short white eyestripe. Bill yellow with black tip. Back light gray. Underside white. Black leading edge to wing. In nonbreeding plumage has black eyestripe extending to back of head, white top of head, and black bill.
Immature DescriptionJuvenile with U-shaped marks across back. Immature resembles winter adult.
Relative Sizebetween robin and crow
- Both Sexes
- Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)
- Weight: 1.3-1.9 oz (36-54 g)
- Wingspan: 18.9-20.9 in (48-53 cm)
Don't miss a thing! Join our email list
The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation.