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Caspian Tern

Silhouette TernsTerns
Caspian TernHydroprogne caspia
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Laridae

Basic Description

The regal Caspian Tern is the largest tern in the world, easily recognized by its brilliant red fish-knife of a bill and deep, raspy call. Found all over the world, the Caspian favors both freshwater and saltwater environments. It feeds mostly on fish, captured in nimble aerial dives. On the nesting grounds, paired Caspian Terns perform splendid displays in the air, rising up to great heights in tandem. They migrate nocturnally, and in autumn their rolling calls are sometimes heard overhead during the night.

More ID Info
image of range map for Caspian Tern
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Caspian Terns are not rare, but they are localized in their occurrence, so it can help to use eBird to find out when they may be near you. They frequent rivers and lakes inland as well as ocean coastlines, and they often roost with flocks of gulls and other (smaller) terns. To home in on them, look for the heavy, bright-red bill and listen for the distinctive call.

Other Names

  • Pagaza Piquirroja (Spanish)
  • Sterne caspienne (French)
  • Cool Facts