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Sandwich Tern

Thalasseus sandvicensis ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A bird of marine coasts of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean, the Sandwich Tern is readily identified by its shaggy crest and yellow-tipped black bill.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
13.4–17.7 in
34–45 cm
Wingspan
33.1–35.4 in
84–90 cm
Weight
6.3–10.6 oz
180–300 g
Other Names
  • Cabot's Tern (English)
  • Sterne caugek (French)
  • Charrán de sandwich, Charrán patinegro, Charrán de Cabot, Gaviota de pico amarillo, Gaviota pico agudo, Gaviota piquiaguda, Golondrina-marina de Sandwich (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The two subspecies of Sandwich Tern breeding in North America and Eurasia have black bills with yellow tips. A third subspecies known at the "Cayenne Tern" is found in the southern Caribbean and the Atlantic Coast of South America. It has an all yellow bill.
  • The oldest recorded Sandwich tern was at least 24 years, 2 months old. It lived in North Carolina.

Habitat


Shoreline

Seacoasts, bays, estuaries, and mudflats, occasionally ocean far from land.

Food


Fish

Small fish. Some invertebrates.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching
Downy, eyes open, able to walk but stays in nest.
Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Aerial Dive

Flies over water with bill pointing down; plunges into water to catch fish.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Sandwich Tern experienced major declines in both the Old and New World during the nineteenth century, due mostly to millinery trade and egg collecting. Recent increases in population size have been noted in most of the bird's range. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental population of 75,000-100,000 breeding birds and rates the species a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Sandwich Tern is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.

Credits

Range Map Help

Sandwich Tern Range Map
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