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Common tern

What am I?

I am a tern and despite my name, I’m not the most common in Britain.

Where do I come from?

I come from North and Western Africa where I spend the winter.

A bit about me

I come to the Solent to breed. I’m a sociable bird and you will find me in concentrated colonies with my friends. 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!

Some people know me as the sea swallow because of my tail streamers, but unlike swallows who eat insects, I prefer fish.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

I’m a qualifying feature for the Solent and Southampton Water and Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Areas – that means, when the site was designated, a nationally significant number of us used these awesome coastlines to breed!

Fun fact

Not all us common terns breed on the coast, some of us breed inland in flooded gravel pits and on nesting-rafts in reservoirs, all we need is fish nearby and we will be happy!