Gull-billed Tern: Lightest North American tern. Black cap that extends below eyes, down nape; pale gray upperparts that are darker at the wingtips; short, stout black bill and black legs, feet; long wings with very long outer primaries. Direct flight with graceful, shallow wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Gull-billed Tern: Fairly common, but local; Salton Sea and San Diego County in California, and along Atlantic Coast.
The Gull-billed tern has a number of geographical races, differing mainly in size and minor plumage details.
They are less numerous today on the Atlantic coast than at their historical levels, prior to the millinery trade in the late 1800s. A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.
They don't normally plunge dive for fish like the other white terns, but feeds on insects taken in flight, and also often hunt over wet fields, to take frogs and small mammals.