Black Tern

The Black Tern is a fascinating bird that belongs to the Gull and Tern family. As its name suggests, the bird has dark plumage, which distinguishes it from other tern species. In this blog post, we will explore some interesting facts about this unique bird.

Basic Description

The Black Tern is a small-to-medium-sized bird measuring 9-10 inches in length with a wingspan of around 24 inches. Its black head and wing feathers are strikingly contrasted by white underparts and tail feathers. The adults have orange-red beaks while juveniles have yellow-orange bills.

Where To Find This Bird

The Black Tern breeds across much of North America from Alaska to Newfoundland down through much of the United States before wintering south to Central America or even South America as far as Argentina.


This species prefers wetlands such as marshes, ponds, lakeshores or estuaries where they can find shallow water for feeding on insects along with shelter for nesting in thick vegetation near open water often gathering in large flocks during migration periods.


Black Terns feed mainly on insects but may also eat small fish if available. They hunt by hovering over the water’s surface searching for prey before diving down swiftly to catch their prey with their sharp beak.

Cool Facts

– The Black Tern is one of only two North American terns that roost mainly at night.
– They are known to nest in dense colonies sometimes numbering more than 100 pairs per colony.
– During breeding season males perform aerial displays including flying high above females calling loudly displaying white patches on wings while plummeting back toward female landing close by her side followed by offering her food items.
– When flying over open bodies of water they make use of thermal updrafts which allows them to sustain long flights without flapping their wings.
– Black Tern populations have been in decline in recent years due to habitat loss, predation and pollution.

In conclusion, the Black Tern is a remarkable bird that deserves our attention and protection. Their unique characteristics and behaviors make them fascinating creatures worthy of admiration. As we continue to learn more about this species, maintaining healthy ecosystems where they can thrive should be a top priority for us all.