Sterna hirundo (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name: 
Common Tern

Common Terns are marine, pelagic and coastal migratory birds that breed in Siberia. Found in all Australian waters from late August through to April.

Ecological Notes: 

In Australia, it is recorded in all marine zones, but is commonly observed in near-coastal waters, both on ocean beaches, platforms and headlands and in sheltered waters, such as bays, harbours and estuaries with muddy, sandy or rocky shores. Common Terns mainly eat small marine fish, but will also take crustaceans and aquatic insects. 

Additional Notes: 

When fishing, it flies above the water with bill pointing downwards. On sighting fish it drops with partly closed wings and enters the water with little splash, usually submerging completely, and emerging a moment later, shaking off the water as it flies.


Atlas of Living Australia at Sterna hirundo Accessed 29 July 2020.
Birdlife Australia at Accessed 27 July 2020.