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Sandwich Tern

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About the Sandwich Tern

The Sandwich Tern has three subspecies: The Sandvicensis breeds on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe, and winters off western Africa and Arabia; the marginally smaller Acuflavida breeds on Atlantic coasts of North America, wintering in the Caribbean and further south, and has wandered to Western Europe;the yellow-billed Eurygnatha breeds on the Atlantic coast of South America from Argentina north to the Caribbean.

Sandwich Terns breed in very dense colonies mostly on coasts and islands. It nests in a ground scrape and lays one to three eggs.

The Sandwich Tern's thin bill is black with a yellow tip, except in the yellow or orange billed South American race. In winter, the Sandwich Tern's forehead becomes white.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 20 July 2007
Scientific Name Thalasseus sandvicensis
  • Charadriiformes
  • Sternidae
  • Thalasseus
  • T. sandvicensis
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 30 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
14 to 17 inches
33 to 38 inches
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia Central Asia South Asia North Africa West Africa Central Africa East Africa South Africa North America Central America Caribbean South America United States (East)

International Names

  • Trinta-réis-de-bando (Brazilian)
  • 白嘴端凤头燕鸥 (Chinese)
  • Rybák Severní (Czech)
  • Splitterne (Danish)
  • Grote Stern (Dutch)
  • Riuttatiira (Finnish)
  • Sterne Caugek (French)
  • Brandseeschwalbe (German)
  • Beccapesci (Italian)
  • サンドイッチアジサシ (Sandoicchiajisashi) (Japanese)
  • Splitterne (Norwegian)
  • Rybitwa Czubata (Polish)
  • Пестроносая крачка (Russian)
  • Charrán Patinegro (Spanish)
  • Kentsk Tärna (Swedish)

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T-Shirt Tuesday: Know Your Terns

T-Shirt Tuesday: Know Your Terns

This week's highlighted t-shirt is our Know Your Terns! design featuring nine different Birdorable terns: Caspian Tern; Royal Tern; Sandwich Tern; Common Tern; Arctic Tern; Least Tern; Gull-billed Tern; Black Tern; and Sooty ... more