Arctic Tern: Medium, slim tern with gray upperparts, black cap, white rump and throat, and pale gray underparts. Tail is deeply forked and white with dark edges on outer feathers. Bill is dark red, rarely tipped with black. Legs and feet are red. Bouyant graceful flight with steady wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Arctic Tern: Breeds on arctic tundra from Aleutians, northern Alaska & across northern Canada and south to northern British Columbia, northern Manitoba, Quebec, and Mass. Winters in Antarctica. Furthest migration of all birds: up to 22,000 miles round trip. They see more daylight than any creature since they are in both Southern and Northern Hemispheres during periods of longest days.
Young terns migrate south with their parents but then remain in the Southern Hemisphere until they are two years old at which time they return to their birthplaces.
Because of their extremely long migrations, they hardly ever land. They spend most of their lives in the air.
During courtship, the male Arctic Tern will catch a small fish and fly as low as possible over a potential mate. If she notices him, she will join him in flight and they will mate soon after.
A group of terns are collectively known as a "ternery" or a "U" of terns.