• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Large-billed Tern - BirdForum Opus

Photo by nick scarle
Pantanal, Brazil, October 2014
Phaetusa simplex


38–42 cm (15-16½ in). A large, relatively short-tailed tern

  • Back crown through to ear-coverts
  • Grey mantel
  • White underparts
  • Heavy yellow bill
  • Greenish-yellow legs


Photo by Stanley Jones
Rio Piquiri, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, August 2015

South America: found in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina
Caribbean: some populations winter in Trinidad



There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • P. s. simplex:
East Colombia to eastern Brazil and Amazonia; winters to Trinidad; western Ecuador
  • P. s. chloropoda:


Mostly large rivers and estuaries, using beaches and sandbars for breeding.



They nest singly, or maybe in groups of up to 100 pairs. The clutch consists of 2 spotted olive brown eggs.


Their diet of fish and insects. They generally plunge-dive for their food.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved September 2016)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1