Species Index

Sterna hirundo
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name: Common Tern

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

Ecological Notes: 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. Occasionally may be seen in freshwater swamps, sewage farms and floodwaters. Common Terns mainly eat small 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.

References: eBird Australia at Common Tern Accessed 14 August 2023.
Birds in Backyards at Accessed 24 July 2023.