Roseate Tern

The roseate tern is a graceful bird, 14 to 17 inches long, with a wingspan of about 30 inches. It resembles the common tern. Its back and upper wings are a light pearly-grey, while its underparts are white. The tip of the white tail extends well beyond its wing tips when the bird is at rest. In the summer it has a black cap, nape and bill. Juveniles have prominent, dark “V”s on the feathers of the back. The flight of this bird is distinctive, with rapid, shallow wingbeats of equal emphasis on the upstroke and downstroke. Its call is a rasping “z-aa-p” or a soft, two-syllabled “chivy.” Roseate terns feed primarily on American sand lance, a small marine fish.