Small to large birds, with solid plumage patterns of white, gray, black or sooty brown. …about 107 species of gulls, terns, skimmers, skuas, and jaegers. In fact, one colony on the Columbia River hosts 12,000 adult Caspians every year! Some large sea terns, including the sooty and bridled terns, are four or older when they first breed. Medium-sized tern with a slender, straight bill. Nonbreeding birds have a white forehead, a partial black cap, and black legs and bill. It breeds throughout northern temperate regions and winters on southern coasts. Gulls: take 2-4 years to mature. Legs, eyes, and bill often brightly coloured in red or yellow. Sometimes they form breeding colonies of millions of individuals. Tern, any of about 40 species of slender, graceful water birds that constitute the subfamily Sterninae, of the family Laridae, which also includes the gulls.Terns inhabit seacoasts and inland waters and are nearly worldwide in distribution. Tern, any of about 40 species of slender, graceful water birds that constitute the subfamily Sterninae, of the family Laridae, which also includes the gulls. Many terns are long-distance migrants, the most notable being the Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea). Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. This guide provides pictures and descriptions to help with basic gull and tern identification questions. Terns inhabit seacoasts and inland waters and are nearly worldwide in distribution. There are five species of noddy terns, or noddies, belonging to the genus Anous. Medium-sized tern with deeply forked tail. Breeding adults have a gray wash on the breast and red bill and legs. In the tern family there are two types of noddies; the Brown Noddy and the Black Noddy. In addition to the gulls, North America also hosts seventeen different tern species under eight different genera. The least, or little, tern (S. albifrons), under 25 cm (10 inches) long, is the smallest tern. Wings are slender, swept back, and narrow at the base. Bill short…. Terns are protected species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. The largest number of species is found in the Pacific Ocean. Larus pipixcan. Breeding birds have a fully black cap that extends to the back of the neck and a gray belly. Terns are protected species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. There are many types of depression. Medium-sized tern with deeply forked tail. See more images of this species in Macaulay Library. All are migratory, often seen outside their breeding areas in spring and autumn, but absent from Europe in winter. An umbrella policy is a type of insurance that adds an extra layer of protection for you and your assets when you need coverage that exceeds the limits of your homeowners or auto insurance. Terns range in length from about 20 to 55 cm (8 to 22 inches). They are social birds… Puffins, … Terns normally breed in colonies, and … They are long-winged, web-footed birds, the smallest of which is the least tern (, >terns) Tail does not extend past wingtips. Nests in the open on beaches. The Arctic tern breeds in the southerly reaches of the Arctic and winters in Antarctic regions, thus making the longest annual migration of any bird. Caspian Tern – The Caspian is the largest of these bird species in the world, at an impressive 18 – 21 in. One of four very similar terns on this continent. Legs moderate to short. Legs and bill turn blackish as winter progresses. It is called a marsh tern because it nests inland on freshwater marshes and around lakes. In fact, one colony on the Columbia River hosts 12,000 adult Caspians every year! Note black-tipped red bill and red legs. This type of nest is commonly used by seabirds, especially those that live in colder climates as a burrow nest can offer protection from both predators and the weather. It breeds in huge, noisy colonies on oceanic islands in warm regions. The tail is forked and the legs are short. Most terns breed annually and at the same time of year, but some tropical species may nest at intervals shorter than 12 months or asynchronously. Seventeen of those species belong to a single genus, Larus. Unlike gulls, this tern has a straight, slender bill. Noddies, named for their nodding displays, are tropical birds with wedge-shaped or only slightly forked tails. These different types are closely matched, with a portion seen over different areas of the continent and the other seen around the coastlines and out at sea. They also have an orange bill tipped in black and orange legs. During the breeding season they frequent both salt and freshwater, but during the winter they tend to stick to marine environments. Juveniles have a faint brownish wash to the back and a partial black cap that extends to the crown. A distinct type of tern, the Inca tern (Larosterna inca), of Peru and northern Chile, bears distinctive white plumes on the side of the head. Medium-sized tern with long, slender wings and deeply forked tail. Common Terns gracefully row through the sky showing off their long angular wings, and breeding season gray belly, black cap, and red bill. Tail is about the same length as the folded wings. Their feet are webbed. While they share some common symptoms, they affect people in different ways. Nonbreeding adults have a white forehead and black on the crown and behind the eye, with blackish bill. Montana Field Guide contains a wealth of information about Montana's diverse species. They dive towards the water picking off fish just below the surface. Common Terns have long, narrow, angular wings and pointed wingtips. Note tail does not extend beyond wingtips at rest. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. This article was most recently revised and updated by, tern - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), tern - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Note the black wedge on the upper side of the wingtips. Updates? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Common Terns nest on rocky islands, barrier beaches, and saltmarshes and forage over open waters including inlets, lakes, and marine waters. In some parts of the world tern eggs are gathered for human consumption. Breeding adults have a gray belly, full black cap, and reddish bill. Breeding adults have gray wash on underparts that can be quite dark. Terns sometimes eat insects, but the bulk of their diet consists of crustaceans and small fish, which they catch by diving through the air and plunging into the water. Breeding adults have a neat black cap and red bill with black tip. In coastal areas, typically less numerous in brackish areas than along the ocean shore.