Caspian Tern

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Hydroprogne caspia


Size 48-55cm.

The Caspian Tern is the largest tern in the world and easily identified by its large red bill. Upper parts of the body are pale grey while the neck and underparts are white, the legs and feet are black. The head has a solid black cap during breeding and a streaky cap in non-breeding birds and juveniles.

Feeding Habits

Patrols the water with long slender backswept wings, diving headlong into the water to catch fish which are usually swallowed in flight, head first.


A shallow hollow in the sand serves as a nest. Both parents share incubation and rearing. Young are fed regurgitated whole fish. Often nest singly but sometimes in large colonies.

Places to Look

Found on beaches, wetlands, offshore islands, estuaries and freshwater dams. They can be found at Bushland Beach, Wunjunga and Lake Ross.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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