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.

First Sighting of Year

Sunday, July 12, 2015 Old Orchard Beach United States
Sunday, July 17, 2016 Phippsburg ME United States
Friday, April 14, 2017 Rettilon Rd Bolivar Peninsula TX United States
Monday, May 28, 2018 Scarborough ME United States
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