There are three types of ‘sea’ tern (Sterna spp) in Liverpool Bay, these are the Common Tern, the Sandwich Tern and the Arctic Tern.
All of these species are pale grey and white in colour, with a black capped head. They are slim, with pointed wings and long tail streamers. The common and arctic terns are extremely similar in appearance, both having reddish legs and red bills. The main difference between the two species is that common terns have a black tip to their bill, which arctic terns lack. Sandwich terns, on the other hand, have distinctive black legs and a black bill with a yellow tip.
Common terns are 110 – 145 g in weight, with a wingspan of 75 – 80cm. Arctic terns are slightly smaller, weighing between 95 – 120g, with a wingspan of 66 – 77cm. Sandwich terns are the largest of the terns found in Liverpool Bay, with a weight of 180 – 300g and a wingspan of 85 – 97cm.
IUCN Least Concern
Where to find them:
Regularly seen on the water around Liverpool Bay, they can often be seen feeding in the Mersey.
All three species feed mainly on small fish, which they catch by plunge-diving into the water.
Did you know the arctic tern migrates yearly from the Arctic to Antarctica