General Description

Grey wings with darker outer flight feathers. Body white underneath, also tail and rump white. Black cap from the bill, through the eye to the back of the head. The cap becomes flecked with white in the non-breeding season. Bill red with a dark band towards the tip. Legs black. Body up to 56 cm long. Flight slow and steady with heavy wingbeats.


Caspian Terns feed mostly on fish. They catch these by flying above the water looking down to sight their prey, then making a shallow dive head -first into the water. They sometimes pull out of the dive right at the last moment. Unlike the more gregarious Little and Fairy Terns, Caspians are often found alone or in small groups outside of the breeding season. They can often be seen flying over lakes or resting on exposed sand spits preening and loafing. This is the largest species of tern in Australia.


Mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Sheltered sandy or muddy coastal areas including harbours, bays, estuaries and wetlands, also offshore islands and inland wetlands and rivers.

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