Belongs to: terns

Compare with: common tern

Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: mid Apr to mid Sep

Key facts

Migrant tern that summers in the UK and winters in Antarctica

Habitat: sea, estuaries and freshwater marshes


Pale grey upperparts, white below, short red legs, black cap and blood-red bill; 38 cm

Graceful, buoyant flight usually over water, showing translucent wings and diving frequently to catch fish

© Brian Watts