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.