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Forster's Tern - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 20:54, 4 February 2022 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: Additional GSearch for common name, GSearch checked template)
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Breeding plumage
Photo © by richard bledsoe
California, USA, May 2003
Sterna forsteri


33-36cm (13-14¼ in), including tail streamers
Wing span 64-70cm
Adult Summer

  • Black-tipped orange-red bill
  • Black crown
  • Grey upper wing coverts
Nonbreeding plumage
Photo © by richard bledsoe.
Fort DeSoto Park, Florida, USA
  • White rump

Adult Winter

  • Black bill
  • White crown
  • Black mask around ear coverts and eyes


  • Cinnamon feathers on crown
  • Cinnamon on semicollar in front of wing

Similar Species

Has a heavier-looking bill than Common Tern


Breeds in North America; winters southern US to Costa Rica and Greater Antilles
A regular vagrant to Europe, individuals usually seen annually in Britain and Ireland


This is a monotypic species[3].


Breeds beside both fresh water and in salt marshes



They will hover when feeding, also plunge dive from a perch.


The diet consists mostly of small fish and arthropods. Also flying insects.


They build a large floating nest on dead marsh vegetation, lined with grass.


Call: a harsh nasal kreerr (reminiscent of Black-headed Gull and Common Tern) and a distinctive metallic klick.

In Culture

It was named after Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798).


  1. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  3. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  4. Birdforum thread discussing id of juv Forster's Tern
  5. Birdforum thread discussing id of near adult Forster's Tern

Recommended Citation

External Links

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