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Tern flying

Terns

Terns are a group of birds known for their arrival on the coast in the summer months, they breed on shingle/sandy beaches where their colonies are often protected with fencing. Terns are often recognised from their behaviour, they can be spotted diving into shallow coastal waters for small fish. Easily mistaken for gulls, terns have a more skinny, elegant appearance.

Bird Aware aren’t funded to focus on these birds as currently other projects exist to safeguard them. Whilst our focus is on winter birds, following our messaging will be to the benefit of all coastal birds.

Common tern resting on a wooden post

Common tern

I nest in scrapes in the sand which I dig with my feet, my eggs are really well camouflaged to help protect them from predators, but I have great eyesight, so don’t worry I won’t lose them!

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Little tern on the beach

Little tern

I nest on sandy, gravel beaches in scrapes (small, shallow holes I dig with my feet). My pale eggs are so well disguised that unfortunately people sometimes tread on them!

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Roseate tern on a rock

Roseate tern

I’m really rare so you will be very lucky if you see me. I look very similar to little, common and arctic terns but my beak is black, I have longer tail streamers and a pinkish tinge to my under parts, how cute!

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Sandwich tern on the beach

Sandwich tern

I always wear my trusted black cap and you will see me plunging into the waves in search of small fish such as sand eel and sprat. I’m quite noisy and compared to the other tern species I am much bigger.

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