Common name for a typical tern, with the binomial designation Sterna sumatrana. Adult birds are about 30-35 centimeters tall, with a wing span of around 42 to 46 centimeters. They are mostly white, with a pale greyish-white belly, silvery greyish back and wings, and a black triangular nape, that contrasts with the white crown, face and breast, and of which the top corners stretch forward, forming black eye-stripes that reach to just over the eyes, without affecting the lores, which are also white (fig.). The beak and legs are blackish, and though hardly noticeable, the outermost tip of the bill is actually pale yellowish. They have forked tails, that are best visible during flight.
This oceanic tern is found in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, where it dwells mostly at open seas, islets and along coastlines, and is rarely found inland.
See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1),