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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia

Despite its name, the Caspian tern, which is large and black-crested, has a global distribution. Gray-backed, with a large, dark red bill, it has a black cap that is darkest when it breeds. The Caspian tern plunge-dives for food in shallow water, and nests in colonies, laying its eggs directly on gravel or mud.

Caspian Ternzoom image
  • Order Charadriiformes
  • Length 19–23 in (48–59 cm)
  • Weight 1–1 lb (550–750 g)
  • Habitat Coasts, lakes, reservoirs, gravel pits
  • Distribution North America, Eurasia, Africa, Australia (breeding); northern South America, Southeast Asia (non-breeding)
Caspian Tern habitat mapzoom image