This striking medium-sized tern has a disproportionately long, thick pointed bill that is entirely yellow and a wing pattern that resembles that of a Sabine's Gull. Alternate Adult: Entirely white below, narrow white forehead separates solid black crown from the bill. Black crown dips well below the eye, then narrows behind the eye and extends down the nape. Mantle and scapulars are dark gray, wing coverts, folded secondaries, and tertials are white, primaries are black. In flight, the back appears as a gray triangle, the trailing edges of the inner wings appear as white triangles, the primaries appear as a black triangle. Underwings are mostly white with black on the undersides of the primary and outer secondary tips. Basic Adult: Similar to Alternate, but has mottled black and white crown and more extensive white on fore-crown. Juvenile: Similar to Basic Adult, but more mottling on crown. Brownish mottling on back, scapulars and wing coverts.
Length: 37 (cm) Wingspan: 94 (cm)
Lakes, rivers, sandbars, wetlands, estuaries, bays and coastline.
Usually singular or in pairs, but may form small roosting flocks. Forages by hovering and plunging into water to grab prey or hawking insects mid-air. May be aggressive and steal food from other birds. Strong direct flight.
Diet consists of fish, crustaceans and insects.
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