Common Tern

General description.

The "Common Tern's" longish legs are also red. It has a long, "deeply forked tail". In winter, the forehead and underparts are white.

Juvenile appearance.

Juvenile "Common Terns" show extensive ginger coloration.

Flight pattern.

The "Common Tern" can be seen flying gracefully over the water, where he feeds by plunge-diving for fish, from either the sea or freshwater lakes and large rivers. It usually dives directly, and not from the "stepped-hover" favoured by Arctic Tern.

Breeding habits.

This tern breeds from Labrador south along the Atlantic Coast to the Caribbean, and inland west to Wisconsin and Montana. If disturbed by humans or other creatures during the season, whole colonies of "Common Tern" will often fail to breed successfully.

Calls or song.

The call is a clear piping, "kip-kip-kip" like that of the Arctic Tern, but lower-pitched and less strident.

Population and distribution.

Generally, the "Common Tern" is found in flocks, but their numbers are on the decline. They winter from Florida to southern South America.

Nesting habits.

Two spotted buff/olive eggs are deposited in a shallow depression in the sand, sometimes lined with grass or shells. In defense of a nest, the "Common Tern" will attack human intruders by dive-bombing and striking their heads with sharp bills.
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