Sandwich Tern

The Sandwich Tern: A Coastal Bird You Need to Know

When it comes to coastal birds, few are as fascinating and beautiful as the Sandwich Tern. This bird is a common sight for those who live near estuaries, lagoons, and other coastal habitats in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. With its distinctive black cap and sharp white plumage tinged with grey on its wings and tail feathers, the Sandwich Tern is a truly remarkable species of bird.

Basic Description

The Sandwich Tern belongs to the family Sternidae which includes all terns. It measures between 14-16 inches long with a wingspan of around 35 inches wide when fully grown. The males of this species have slightly longer bills than females but otherwise look identical.

Where To Find This Bird

The Sandwich Tern migrates seasonally depending on weather conditions but primarily breeds in colonies along sandy or rocky coasts during summer months from May through September throughout much of North America including Canada’s Maritime provinces southward along both East Coast and Gulf Coast states such as Florida where it can be observed basking under the warm sun.


As their name suggests these birds prefer sandy shorelines suitable for nesting grounds that are adjacent to feeding areas such as shallow water bodies like ponds or lakes which provide an adequate food supply in close proximity.


The sandwich tern feeds mainly on small fish such as herring or sprat by plunge-diving into shallow waters at high speeds using its pointed bill to catch fish underwater before resurfacing back up above water levels again within mere seconds!

Cool Facts

One interesting thing about these birds is their unique breeding behavior whereby they form loose colonies made up of several thousand individuals at once! These large groups ensure maximum protection against predators while sharing necessary resources vital for successful reproduction. Another fun fact worth mentioning here is that despite having no sense of smell(!), they possess excellent eyesight that allows them to spot prey from great distances in the sky or on water surfaces below.

In conclusion, the Sandwich Tern is a fascinating bird that should be appreciated by all nature enthusiasts. Getting to catch a glimpse of these birds in their natural habitat can be truly awe-inspiring and educational at the same time!