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Common Tern

A summer visitor to coastal habitats to breed.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard
Common Name Common Tern
Scientific Name Sterna hirundo
Status Local
Interest Level
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
Preferred Environment
  • Open sea
  • Harbours, estuaries and lagoons
Look for Birds plunging in to the sea just off shore
Additional Identification Notes
  • The most frequently seen of the tern family in Dorset especially during migration periods
  • Smaller than the sandwich tern and larger than the little tern
  • Almost identical to the much more scarce arctic tern which is only seen on passage in spring and autumn
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: