Forester’s tern

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Project Description

Forster’s Tern

Sterna forsteri

Range/Geographical Distribution: Throughout North America.

Habitat: Marshes, coastal beaches, lakes, and rivers. 

Similar Species:   Royal tern, laughing gull, ring-billed gull, and herring gull. 

Description:  A medium-sized tern with a grey back and a deeply forked tail. In the summer, the head has a black cap and the legs and bill are orange. In the winter, there is a black patch around the eye and the beak and legs are black. Immature has similar coloration to the winter adult. 

Size: Length: 13-14” Wingspan:  30-31” Weight: 130-190g

Food: Small fish and arthropods.

Breeding:  Breeds in marshes, usually near open water. Nests in clumps of marsh vegetation and lays up to six speckled olive/sand colored eggs.

Predators:  Sharks and large birds of prey.

Conservation Status: The Forster’s tern is listed as least concern by IUCN.  Depleted fish stocks, litter, and loss of habitat threaten these birds.

Interesting Facts: The Forster’s tern is the only tern restricted to North America. They can be seen plunging head first into coastal waters.

On the Coast: Forster’s terns come to Georgia’s coast during the winter months.  

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