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Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Common Tern at rehab facility; Dunedin, Florida

General Description: Adult Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) are small, light colored terns with a forked tail and a long orange bill. The forked tail has dark outer edges. In flight, shows black in the primaries and tips of the secondaries, especially during fall. Juvenile Common Terns are darker on the back and the bill is black.

As with most other terns, this species has differing winter and summer plumage. In breeding plumage, Common Terns have an extensive black cap (extends from the top of the bill to the back of the head) and bright red legs and feet. During winter, they loose the front part of the black cap, giving them a "going bald" appearance, and the legs are black.

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Laridae, Sterninae.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Common Tern at rehab facility; Dunedin, Florida (note leg bands)

Favored Habitat: Inland marshes in central and eastern Canada during summer; migrates along both US coasts en route to South America for the winter.

Where to Find: Around Las Vegas, Common Terns are uncommon, but look for them during migration around marshes and bodies of water such as Lake Mead, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, and the Pahranagat Valley.

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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 131016

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