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Common Tern

Common Yellowthroat
Common Rosefinch

About the Common Tern

Also known as: Sea Swallow

The Common Tern breeds in temperate and sub-arctic regions of Europe, Asia and east and central North America. It is strongly migratory, wintering in the subtropical and tropical oceans.

In winter, the forehead and underparts of the Common Tern are white. They breed in colonies on coasts and islands and often inland on suitable freshwater lakes. Like all Sterna terns, the Common Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, from either the sea or freshwater lakes and large rivers.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 20 July 2007
Scientific Name Sterna hirundo
  • Charadriiformes
  • Sternidae
  • Sterna
  • S. hirundo
Birdorable Family Terns & Gulls
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 27 January 2017)
Measurements
Units: Imperial Metric
13 to 14 inches
27 to 31 inches
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia Central Asia East Asia Southeast Asia South Asia North Africa West Africa Central Africa East Africa South Africa North America Central America Caribbean South America United States (West) United States (East) Arctic Australia and New Zealand Oceania

International Names

  • Trinta-réis-boreal (Brazilian)
  • 普通燕鸥 (Chinese)
  • Rybák Obecný (Czech)
  • Fjordterne (Danish)
  • Visdief (Dutch)
  • Kalatiira (Finnish)
  • Estorlet (French)
  • Fluss-Seeschwalbe (German)
  • Sterna Comune (Italian)
  • アジサシ (Ajisashi) (Japanese)
  • 제비갈매기 (Jebigalmaegi) (Korean)
  • Makrellterne (Norwegian)
  • Rybitwa Rzeczna (Polish)
  • Крачка речная (Russian)
  • Charrán común (Spanish)
  • Fisktärna (Swedish)

Related articles

The Adorable Common Tern

The Adorable Common Tern

Doesn't this Common Tern have the cutest tiny feet? We took this picture at Starrevaart, a bird sanctuary near The Hague in the Netherlands. Every spring during breeding time there was a ... more