Least Tern


This highly migratory New World tern frequents estuaries, coastal lagoons, river sandbars, and sandy beaches, where it attracts attention by its tiny size and buoyant flight. The adult has a black cap, white forehead, gray mantle, white underparts, yellow legs, and black on the outer primaries. The tail is short and forked. In breeding plumage, the black-tipped yellow bill is a diagnostic field mark. Identification of terns in other plumages is less straightforward: consult a good field guide.

 

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