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Bird name:

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Terns (Sternidae)

BTO 2

CN

BTO 5

COMTE

Euring 5

06150
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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

UK Conservation Status


Amber Status

European Conservation Status


Conservation Description


The Common Tern breeds in and migrates through various parts of the UK, Isle of Man, and Ireland. It has an "Amber" status because of declines in its population.

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PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Tern: Medium-sized tern with light grey upperparts, paler grey underparts, glossy black cap and nape. Wings are dark-tipped. Red bill is black-tipped. Legs are red and tail is deeply forked and elongated. Graceful flight, hovers above water before diving for prey.


Range and Habitat

Common Tern: Migrant breeder in the UK & Ireland. Breeding grounds include most of the UK except for southwestern England where it is scarce. Birds are seen spring through early autumn. Can be found along rocky beaches, on estuaries and marshes. Breeds inland.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Jean Roche Sound

Common Tern 3

  • Title: Common Tern 3
  • Description: Calls of a pair near the nest.
  • Recordist: Jean Roche
  • Date Imported: "February 7, 2011"
  • Location: uk

Common Tern 4

  • Title: Common Tern 4
  • Description: Alarm and other calls.
  • Recordist: Jean Roche
  • Date Imported: "February 7, 2011"
  • Location: uk

Common Tern 5

  • Title: Common Tern 5
  • Description: Alarm calls in flight.
  • Recordist: Jean Roche
  • Date Imported: "February 7, 2011"
  • Location: uk

Common Tern 6

  • Title: Common Tern 6
  • Description: Calls from a large breeding colony.
  • Recordist: Jean Roche
  • Date Imported: "February 7, 2011"
  • Location: uk

Voice Text

"kee-urr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Common Tern drinks mainly on the wing, gliding with its wings slightly raised and dipping its bill several times into the water.
  • Birds living along the coast drink salt water. They do not seek fresh water even when it is available nearby. Like many seabirds, they have nasal glands that excrete the excess salt.
  • As part of the courtship display, the male makes an offering of fish to the female.
  • A group of common terns are collectively known as a "committee" of terns.

RELATED BIRDS

RANGE MAP

Range Map for Common Tern

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX