Blog Archive: Terns

Birdorable Bridled Tern

2020 Bonanza Bird #18: Bridled Tern

December 11th, 2020 in Birdorable Bonanza 2020, Terns 3 comments
Birdorable Bridled Tern

Today’s new Birdorable species is a pelagic seabird: the Bridled Tern!

Like many seabirds, the Bridled Tern has a monochromatic plumage in whites, greys, and blacks. Their plumage is countershaded, meaning they are dark above and light below. This is a type of camouflage -- the way natural light hits them helps to make them less visible to aquatic prey from below and potential predators from above.

Bridled Terns are found in tropical and subtropical waters across parts of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This cutie joins Birdorable as our 15th species of tern.

Bridled Tern

Tomorrow we’ll add a species of waterbird with the longest bill size of any species. Do you know this bird?

Birdorable Inca Tern

The Inca Tern's fishy lifestyle

August 13th, 2013 in Terns 4 comments

Today we have added the Inca Tern to Birdorable. Inca Terns have a mostly dark grey plumage, with the tail being darker. The wings are tipped in white. Males and females look alike. Adult birds can easily be recognized by their long white mustachial feather plumes. Mustaches are hot right now, making Inca Terns the most popular birds on the beach!


Inca Terns are piscivorous, meaning their diet consists of mostly fish. They eat small fish including anchovies and silversides which are snatched from the water as the bird swoops down from a hovering position. Love these ornate fish-loving birds? Be sure to check out our collection of cute cartoon Inca Tern gifts!

inca tern
Birdorable Least Tern

2013 Bonanza Bird #2: Least Tern

July 2nd, 2013 in Birdorable Bonanza 2013, Terns 3 comments

We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Least Tern.

Birdorable Least Tern

Gift-giving is part of the pair formation in Least Terns. Male terns will perform a "Fish Flight Display", carrying a small fish in his bill while calling out and landing with a gliding manoeuver. The ritual may end when the male gifts the fish to a female.

Least Tern courtship 2-20120419
Least Tern courtship by Kenneth Cole Schneider (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In the USA, Least Terns are a species of concern in many states. Least Terns traditionally nest on sandy beaches, but will also use gravel-surfaced rooftops or man-made nesting platforms. Conservationists provide these additional nesting habitats to help preserve the species.


Tomorrow our 2013 Bonanza continues with the addition of a small European songbird with a big personality.

Birdorable Caspian Tern

Ten Facts About the Caspian Tern

January 11th, 2011 in Terns, Fun Facts 3 comments
Birdorable Caspian Tern

Here are ten interesting facts about the Caspian Tern:

  1. The Caspian Tern is the world's largest tern species.
  2. The Caspian Tern's diet consists almost entirely of fish.
  3. Unlike many other tern species, the Caspian Tern retains its black cap during the winter (non-breeding plumage).
  4. The Caspian Tern occurs on all continents except Antarctica.
  5. Caspian Terns are highly vocal. Chicks vocalize while they are still in the egg!
  6. Caspian Terns are fastidious when it comes to feeding their young. Adults rinse their bills after feeding their babies. If an offered fish is accidentally dropped on the ground, the adult will rinse it off with water before re-offering it to the baby tern.
  7. Caspian Terns nest along the Gulf Coast and thus are one of the species directly threatened by the BP Oil Spill Disaster of 2010.
  8. Starting from day one, chicks are fed whole fish, which they swallow headfirst.
  9. The oldest known wild Caspian Tern lived to be 26 years old.
  10. The Caspian Tern is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Caspian Tern was added to Birdorable on July 20, 2007.
Birdorable Arctic Tern

Baby Birdorable: Arctic Tern

September 3rd, 2010 in Terns, Baby Birds 2 comments

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Arctic Tern.

New Life
New Life by warner2006
Baby Arctic Tern
Baby Arctic Tern by 4mul8
Arctic Tern.jpg
Arctic Tern.jpg by SNH - IYB2010
Farne Island, Arctic Tern Chick
Farne Island, Arctic Tern Chick by Shadow Creepr
Arctic Tern Chick
Arctic Tern Chick by tricycledteenager
Arctic Tern 7D-4430
Arctic Tern 7D-4430 by Rupert Pye
Arctic Tern to chick
Arctic Tern to chick by ianclamp
Baby's First Step
Baby's First Step by tricycledteenager

Pretty cute, right? Be sure to check out our (adult) Birdorable Arctic Tern t-shirts & gifts!

Birdorable Sooty Tern

Wideawake on Easter Island

June 24th, 2010 in Terns 1 comment

The Sooty Tern is a seabird that breeds on equatorial islands. Outside of breeding, they rarely are seen on land. The Sooty Tern has two nicknames related to its loud and somewhat obnoxious call. It is called the Wideawake Tern; in Hawaiian its name means cacophony. The Sooty Tern used to be part of an important ritual for the people of Easter Island. The clan of the "birdman" who could collect the first egg from a Sooty or Grey-backed Tern each year would control the island's resources. The Sooty Tern has been on Birdorable since July 2007. Be sure to check out our great collection of Sooty Tern t-shirts & gifts!

Birdorable Sooty Tern on Easter Island