From Largest Tern to Least Tern!

Last week I posted images of the largest tern in the world, the Caspian Tern.  The same day we saw that massive bird, my son captured some great images of the smallest tern in America; the Least Tern.

As you can see, the Least Tern is quite distinctive even apart from his diminutive size - at this time of year, anyway.  Almost all terns have white or whitish foreheads at some point in their development, but in mid May you won't see such a perfect blazing white triangle on any other species. 

Another identification clue is the Least Tern's yellow (not orange) bill with a black spot at the tip.  The least Tern has yellow legs, as well.

The Least Tern does not nest in colonies with Common Terns, Roseate Terns, and Arctic Terns, which is why you won't see any group photos from us with those species together with Least Terns.  The Least Tern is much more apt to nest in marshes and lagoons and at the mouths of rivers, which is close to where we saw the bird above as well as some Least Terns in flight.

1 comment:

  1. I love watching and listening to any Terns but don't often get the chance to get very close shots. These are cracking pics of the Least and your previous post was very informative showing the relative sizes. Nice one Susan.


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