Sandwich Tern: Only medium-sized tern with long slender black bill tipped with yellow; upperparts are very pale gray, nearly white, and underparts are white. The black crown has a short black crest. White tail is deeply forked; legs and feet are black. Direct flight, hovers before diving for fish.
Range and Habitat
Sandwich Tern: Atlantic coast north to Virginia, and entire Gulf Coast.
The Sandwich Tern was originally described by ornithologist John Latham in 1787 as Sterna sandvicensis, but was recently moved to its current genus Thalasseus following mitochondrial DNA studies.
It is not very aggressive toward potential predators, relying on the sheer density of the nests—often only 8–12 in apart— and nesting close to more aggressive species such as Arctic Terns and Black-headed Gulls to avoid predation.
The current genus name is derived from the Greek Thalassa, "sea", and sandvicensis refers to Sandwich, Kent, Latham's type locality.
A group of sandwich terns are collectively known as a "hogey" of terns.