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Conservation status: Red

Similar in size to a common tern but very white-looking, with long tail-streamers, a black cap and a black beak with a reddish base. In summer adults have a pinkish tinge to their underparts which gives them their name. It is one of our rarest seabirds and whose severe, long-lasting and well documented decline make it a Red List species.



Latin name

Sterna dougallii


Terns (Sternidae)

Where to see them

A strictly coastal bird, with breeding in the UK confined to a few colonies. Most likely place to see birds in summer are off the Northumberland coast, Anglesey and the Firth of Forth. Passage birds can be seen along the south and east coasts, with Dungeness, Kent a regular site.

When to see them

They arrive at their breeding colonies from mid-May, leaving again in August. Away from their colonies they are best looked for in spring along the south and east coasts.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-89 pairs--




Ross Ahmed, Xeno-canto