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Birds by name
Conservation status: Amber
This delightful chattering seabird is the UK's smallest tern. It is short-tailed and has a fast flight. Its bill is a distinctive yellow with a black tip. It is noisy at its breeding colony where courtship starts with an aerial display involving the male calling and carrying a fish to attract a mate which chases him up high before he descends, gliding with wings in a 'V'. Its vulnerable nesting sites and its decline in Europe make it an Amber List species.
A strictly coastal species found around the UK coastline at suitable breeding beaches. Largest colonies found along the east and south coasts of Scotland and England at sites which include: Blakeney Point and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; Minsmere, Suffolk; and Langstone Harbour, Hampshire.
A summer visitor to Europe, arriving in April and May. Return migration starts in August and continues into September.
* UK breeding is the number of pairs breeding annually. UK wintering is the number of individuals present from October to March. UK passage is the number of individuals passing through on migration in spring and/or autumn.
Please note that the map is only intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
David Farrow, Xeno-canto