Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Scientific Name: Sterna hirundo (Sternidae).

English Name: Common Tern (Tern family).

French Name: Sterne pierregarin.

5 Key Characters:
  • long wings and graceful flight.
  • black cap, with the rest of the plumage white and grey.
  • red beak with a black tip.
  • red feet and legs.
  • forked tail.

Lookalikes: Other terns, especially Arctic Tern S. paradisaea, which has a more deeply forked tail and completely blood red beak.

Habitat: Along rivers and lakes, nesting on rocky islands, beaches and marsh edges.

Months Present: A summer visitor, April to September, nesting in large numbers at freshwater sites such as in the Brenne.

Status: Abundant with the population probably increasing. Habitat loss is the main threat, along with disturbance of colonies, predation and pesticides.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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