The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. This bird has a circumpolar breeding distribution covering the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America (as far south as Brittany and Massachusetts). The species is strongly migratory, seeing two summers each year as it migrates along a convoluted route from its northern breeding grounds to the Antarctic coast for the southern summer and back again about six months later. Recent studies have shown average annual roundtrip lengths of about 70,900 km (44,100 mi) for birds nesting in Iceland and Greenland and c. 90,000 km (56,000 mi) for birds nesting in the Netherlands. These are by far the longest migrations known in the animal kingdom. The Arctic tern flies as well as glides through the air. It nests once every one to three years (depending on its mating cycle); once it has finished nesting it takes to the sky for another long southern migration.

Arctic terns are medium-sized birds. They have a length of 28–39 cm (11–15 in) and a wingspan of 65–75 cm (26–30 in). They are mainly grey and white plumaged, with a red/orangish beak and feet, white forehead, a black nape and crown (streaked white), and white cheeks. The grey mantle is 305 mm, and the scapulae are fringed brown, some tipped white. The upper wing is grey with a white leading edge, and the collar is completely white, as is the rump. The deeply forked tail is whitish, with grey outer webs.

Arctic terns are long-lived birds, with many reaching fifteen to thirty years of age. They eat mainly fish and small marine invertebrates. The species is abundant, with an estimated one million individuals. While the trend in the number of individuals in the species as a whole is not known, exploitation in the past has reduced this bird's numbers in the southern reaches of its range.

The Arctic tern was known as sea swallow describing their slender shape as they swoop over the water.
Arctic Tern
Date Location Count
2021-08-19 13:13Matinicus Rock2
2021-08-25 06:22Seal Island NWR ("island only" - restricted access)1
2021-08-31 17:14Eastport--Friar Roads1
2021-09-07 13:45Blacks Harbour/Grand Manan Ferry1
2021-09-05 09:00Brier Island--Pond Cove1
2021-08-25 11:57Cape Sable Island--The Hawk1
2021-09-11 14:00Embouchure Rivière Godbout1
2021-08-19 12:30Quai, Godbout5
2021-08-28 08:20Pointe de Moisie1
2021-08-27 08:52Covehead Wharf1
2021-09-04 11:25Site historique du Phare de Cap-des-Rosiers1
2021-08-28 17:39Ile Paquet1
2021-08-22 09:31CBN--Clarke's Beach1
2021-08-21 16:43CBS--Kelligrews--Pond Road & Outflow1
2021-09-16 09:06Thirty Mile Bank (SD Co.)1
2021-08-23 06:44Kelowna--Rotary Beach1
2021-08-31 14:15Kelowna--mouth of Mission Creek2
2021-09-03 10:51Monterey Bay pelagic--inshore Monterey to Moss Landing (MTY Co.)
2021-09-03 12:00La Selva Beach14
2021-09-05 12:15Monterey Bay pelagic (SCZ Co., >2 mi offshore)1
2021-09-05 08:20Monterey Bay pelagic (MTY Co.)24
2021-08-22 17:46Wave Organ1
2021-09-12 12:00Monterey Seavalley pelagic (SCZ Co., >2 mi offshore)2
2021-08-29 07:10Offshore pelagic (South SON Co.)5
2021-08-27 16:55Point Defiance Park--Dune Peninsula & Wilson Way1
2021-09-16 08:10MacKerricher SP--Laguna Pt.1
2021-09-05 10:55Westport pelagic--Offshore waters1
2021-09-05 09:30Westport pelagic--offshore waters Grays Canyon1
2021-08-21 09:15Westport pelagic--offshore (west) of Grays Canyon13
2021-08-21 16:49Gingolx2
2021-08-19 05:45Teslin Lake--Teslin Lake Bird Observatory4
2021-09-01 14:57Öndverðarnes4
2021-08-21 09:32Lóndrangar
2021-08-22 16:55Rif--tjarnir (ponds)100
2021-08-20 09:06Hellnar
2021-08-21 13:18Arnarstapi--Gatklettur10
2021-08-30 11:55Arnarstapi4
2021-09-01 16:48Grundarfjörður1
2021-09-02 06:19Stóra-Sandvík21
2021-08-29 13:00Sandgerði--north beach1
2021-08-31 12:00Sandgerði--leira (mudflat)4
2021-08-28 10:39Miðnes--Hafurbjarnarstaðir-Garðskagi (shoreline walk)7
2021-09-02 05:45Garður--Garðskagi lighthouse2
2021-08-30 09:52Garður--Ásgarðsvegur (rd.)1
2021-08-30 09:24Síki í Garði (ponds only)8
2021-09-17 13:14Garður--Gerðafjara1
2021-08-20 14:59Breiðafjörður ferry (Stykkishólmur-Brjánslækur)2
2021-08-19 09:37Stykkishólmur
2021-09-04 08:57Ísafjörður--hafnarsvæði (harbour area)2
2021-08-25 10:26Faxaflói (Reykjavík whalewatching pelagics)2
2021-08-30 17:54Seltjarnarnes--Daltjörn (pond only)45
2021-09-17 16:37Seltjarnarnes--general area30
2021-09-04 13:40Akranes--Krókalón2
2021-09-09 15:30Bakkatjörn (pond only)5
2021-09-09 11:36Skerjafjörður3
2021-09-02 08:29Vigur1
2021-08-31 16:40Hlíðarvatn4
2021-08-25 15:00Travessia para as Desertas (saídas pelágicas)1
2021-08-20 09:15Þorlákshöfn--útsýnisstaður (view-point)10
2021-08-27 12:55Óseyrartangi--Hafið Bláa15
2021-09-03 21:07Steingrimsfjordur--Tungugrafarvogar1
2021-08-28 08:20Vestmannaeyjar ferry (Landeyjahöfn-Heimaey)3
2021-09-09 11:15Landeyjahöfn2
2021-09-01 07:01A-Landeyjar--Markarfljótsós24
2021-08-19 11:30Seljalandsfoss1
2021-08-20 06:02Dyrhólaey3
2021-08-19 15:45Dyrhólaey--Arnardrangur200
2021-08-28 10:27Reynisfjara4
2021-09-12 07:35Banco de la Concepción3
2021-09-15 12:09Grímsey14
2021-08-22 15:11Saltvík (Skjálfandi)1
2021-08-19 12:33Húsavík--Haukamýri
2021-08-27 14:23Vetrarfuglatalning (CBC count point)--232B (Húsavík)2
2021-08-25 20:26Húsavík--Garðarsbraut 431
2021-08-19 10:31Mývatn--Höskuldshöfði2
2021-08-24 13:17Jökulsárlón200
2021-08-27 19:17Tjörnes--Mánárbakki2
2021-08-21 15:15Jökulsárlón--seawatch15
2021-08-28 10:19Plage d'Akhfenir1
2021-08-24 12:38Oued Chbika1
2021-09-08 09:53Höfn--Óslandstjörn1
2021-09-07 16:00Höfn6
2021-09-07 10:11Höfn--hafnarsvæði (harbour area)1
2021-08-25 19:13Höfn--Sílavík2
2021-08-28 09:26Höfn--Standey5
2021-08-26 18:28Höfn--Ægissíða6
2021-08-19 11:20Nes--Stokksnes40
2021-08-22 07:32PN Sintra-Cascais--Cabo Raso1
2021-08-23 10:26Langanes--Heiðarhöfn26
2021-08-29 09:43Djúpivogur6
2021-08-19 14:25Djúpivogur--Breiðivogur20
2021-08-31 07:5115 millas W cabo Vilano (Only historic protocol. Please use Pelagic protocol)1
2021-08-28 09:49Loop Head Pelagic10
2021-08-26 08:20Bridges of Ross4
2021-09-01 08:29Skálanes1
2021-08-21 08:00Cape Clear Pelagic--Offshore4
2021-09-11 13:19Rusheen Bay1
2021-09-04 17:05Cabanas--Forte de S. João da Barra1
2021-08-22 08:08Porto do Barqueiro4
2021-08-28 13:53Estaca de Bares4
2021-09-09 10:19Xove--Lago, Area general (piscifactoría, charcas, marisma, praia e enseada)1
2021-08-29 09:42Isles of Scilly--Pelagic to Waters to the South1
2021-08-23 17:00Isles of Scilly--Pelagic to Waters to the North-east1
2021-08-19 12:57Isle of Barra2
2021-08-19 18:52West Kilbride / Cille Bhrìghde to East Kilbride / Taobh a' Chaolais4
2021-08-19 07:17Eriskay5
2021-09-15 07:45Dundalk Bay--Soldier's Point1
2021-08-21 19:00Sandymount Strand & Merrion Gates
2021-09-13 13:08Cruisetown Strand2
2021-08-27 12:22Balbriggan--Martello Tower & Sailor's Grave area1
2021-09-17 08:55Port Oriel and Clogher Head1
2021-08-22 16:19Rush--South Beach5
2021-08-22 11:50Northton Bay SSSI1
2021-08-22 14:30Luskentyre6
2021-08-30 08:00Oyambre PNat--Cabo de Oyambre2
2021-08-20 11:35Callanish (Calanais)1
2021-09-03 17:19Kinnegar Shore and Pools5
2021-08-20 07:53Skokholm4
2021-08-20 17:30Scallastle2
2021-08-24 16:36Koltur, FO10
2021-08-24 19:30Torshavn--Old Hoyvik Bay and peninsula50
2021-09-10 06:28Berry Head NNR2
2021-08-28 19:17Cardiff Bay2
2021-09-15 08:57Skinflats RSPB Reserve--Bothkennar Ponds1
2021-08-19 13:00Crosby Beach11
2021-08-21 15:13Chew Valley Lake1
2021-09-15 13:51Hound Point2
2021-09-11 07:30Almond River Mouth and Parkway10
2021-09-12 09:30Cramond Island10
2021-08-22 15:20Joppa Seafront15
2021-09-14 15:30Musselburgh--Levenhall Links1
2021-08-28 07:19Ile de Ré (île)1
2021-08-21 15:48Ferny Ness1
2021-08-27 09:21Aberlady Bay LNR1
2021-08-19 18:30Hengistbury Head LNR2
2021-09-02 12:25Kachemak Bay--Gull Island1
2021-08-23 12:21Out Head5
2021-08-29 11:45Dunnet Bay3
2021-08-23 16:50The Scores5
2021-09-12 15:00John Muir Country Park2
2021-08-19 19:48Homer Spit--Mariner Park Campground3
2021-08-26 16:15Kasilof--Kasilof River Mouth1
2021-08-21 13:42Kilminning Coast SWT NR22
2021-08-21 07:52Fife Ness (general area)84
2021-08-30 13:15Fife Ness Muir WR
2021-09-01 08:30Homer--Beluga Slough Trail1
2021-08-30 10:30Kodiak Is.--Marine waters off Cape Chiniak1
2021-08-19 21:30Montrose Basin--Wigeon Hide
2021-09-08 13:45Montrose Basin10
2021-09-09 13:10Fishtown of Usan3
2021-08-22 16:35Titchfield Haven NNR--Hillhead Harbour1
2021-08-21 15:28Echna Loch3
2021-09-04 10:50Kodiak Is.--City of Kodiak--Mission Lake2
2021-08-31 10:30Kodiak Is.--Kalsin Pond and Olds River Estuary2
2021-08-20 15:00Anglers Country Park1
2021-09-04 11:15Holy Island
2021-08-26 15:28Attenborough NWT Nature Centre and Reserve2
2021-09-02 12:30Lindisfarne NNR--Budle Bay1
2021-08-23 12:05Girdleness1
2021-08-30 16:20Girdle Ness Seawatch1
2021-08-28 12:00Farne Islands NNR--Inner Farne Island
2021-08-23 18:30Alnmouth Beach3
2021-08-20 12:24Druridge Bay Country Park2
2021-09-12 17:01Druridge Pools NWT NR and Druridge Links (NT)4
2021-09-03 09:00Beadnell Haven1
2021-08-28 07:12Frensham Common and Ponds SSSI--Great Pond (NT)2
2021-08-22 10:30Craster
2021-08-30 11:52Snab Point6
2021-08-28 16:00Ythan Estuary
2021-09-05 09:40Church Point12
2021-09-05 12:30Beacon Point2
2021-09-13 06:45St Marys Island LNR7
2021-08-22 19:25North Shields Fish Quay1
2021-09-12 14:45South Shields Pier1
2021-08-23 11:05North Ronaldsay--Bird Observatory23
2021-09-15 06:15Whitburn Coastal Park1
2021-08-27 06:37Hartlepool Headland
2021-09-10 10:17Staithes--Offshore2
2021-08-24 14:10Weir Wood Reservoir1
2021-08-24 06:59Walthamstow Wetlands1
2021-08-27 09:00Fair Isle1
2021-09-05 13:50Crossness Sewage Works and LNR2
2021-09-02 15:21Filey Country Park2
2021-08-21 09:48Hunmanby Gap
2021-08-26 09:15Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve--Aveley Bay1
2021-08-29 07:12Carr Naze1
2021-08-29 12:49Filey Brigg4
2021-08-19 18:30Reighton Sands5
2021-08-31 15:45Hornsea Mere1
2021-09-14 18:06Dernford Reservoir1
2021-09-01 07:09Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve3
2021-08-26 07:20Freiston Shore RSPB Reserve2
2021-09-13 06:40Flamborough Head1
2021-08-22 07:13Patrington Haven2
2021-09-02 15:00East Tilbury Marshes--Coalhouse Fort2
2021-08-22 06:40Skeffling Clays
2021-09-04 15:00Flamborough--Offshore2
2021-09-10 15:55Kilnsea--Wetlands1
2021-09-07 11:20Spurn Point NNR--The Warren
2021-09-13 07:01Spurn Point NNR1
2021-08-19 13:00Hoswick
2021-09-01 10:56Huttoft Car Terrace1
2021-08-30 19:00Canvey Point3
2021-09-12 07:53Snettisham RSPB Reserve5
2021-08-19 07:00Lerwick Harbour8
2021-08-30 14:00Oare Marshes LNR6
2021-08-21 10:24Fetlar65
2021-09-10 12:12Out Skerries12
2021-08-25 05:45Blakeney Point1
2021-09-05 08:30Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR--Cley Coastguards2
2021-09-14 12:09Sheringham--Seawatch1
2021-09-01Cap Gris-Nez1
2021-08-30 07:16Slaughden5
2021-09-04 06:53Thorpeness Old Caravan Site2
2021-09-03 10:02Minsmere RSPB Reserve4
2021-09-04 06:30Southwold Sea Front2
2021-08-21 17:37De Putten1
2021-08-20 20:40Utqiagvik (Town)--Off Shore5
2021-08-22 17:11Knockster Siel9
2021-08-21 09:10Leyhörn (NSG) (gesamt)12
2021-08-26 11:00Fähre Norddeich - Juist2
2021-08-23 11:05Norderney (gesamt)1
2021-09-08 10:30Blåvandshuk
2021-08-22 08:30Skallingen2
2021-09-06 13:18Sylt--Uthörn1
2021-09-06 13:14Sylt--Lister Nehrung2
2021-08-30 07:05Kugelbake, Cuxhaven
2021-08-22 10:30Fähre Cuxhaven - Helgoland3
2021-08-19 11:28Vidå Sluse
2021-08-20 13:22Katinger Watt--Eider-Sperrwerk5
2021-08-31 16:38Beltringharder Koog (NSG) (gesamt)2
2021-08-20 16:59Fähre Brunsbüttel - Cuxhaven6
2021-08-26 10:17Bøjden Nor2
2021-08-20 10:00Fyns Hoved1
2021-09-17 12:47Ølsemagle Revle1
2021-08-22 14:07Staunings Ø1
2021-08-24 06:16Råöslätten1
2021-08-30 17:16Nome River mouth3
2021-08-29 13:55Lilla Hammars näs2
2021-08-20 13:34Vitemölla10
2021-08-27 06:00Christiansø1
2021-09-01 11:12Halsa3
2021-08-27 06:46Triberga läge1
2021-08-21Kvicksund1
2021-09-02 14:00Gambell (general area)1
2021-09-05 07:40Rezerwat Mewia Łacha (Seagull Shoal Reserve)--East Side1
2021-08-23 15:10Sennebyhaken2
2021-08-19 12:00Vilsandi30
2021-08-21 08:27Hanko--Dödören2
2021-08-19Revdalen10
2021-08-28 18:53Pärnu Nature Trail3
2021-09-06 10:45Helsinki--Kaivopuisto1
2021-09-02 06:21Raahe--Maivaperä1
2021-09-15 06:43Raahe--Pattijokisuu2
2021-08-19 12:53Jyväskylä--Äijälänrannan lintutorni1