|Latin name:||Sterna hirundo|
|English name:||Common tern|
|Body length, cm:||31–35|
|Body weight, g:||80–170|
|Features:||coloring of beak and paws, voice|
|Number, thousand pairs:||195–227|
|Guard Status:||CEE 1, BERNA 2, BONN 2, AEWA|
|Additionally:||Russian description of the species|
A graceful bird with a shiny black cap and a long, deep-forked tail. The beak is long, thin, red, with a black tip, the legs are pink, the tail tail feathers are long, threadlike. When the bird sits, the tail does not protrude beyond the ends of the folded wings. Like the other terns, males and females are colored the same, but there are seasonal and age differences. The bird in winter attire has a white forehead, and the rest of the head is dark, with black-brown streaks. The puffer nestling of the river tern has a characteristic dark spot on the throat.
Spread. The species is migratory, includes 3 subspecies in Eurasia, North and Central America, in Africa, where it occurs locally. In Europe, the species is more common north of the 44th parallel. Winters in the south of the range to South Africa. In Italy, in the summer, a population of 4–5 thousand pairs nests, wintering birds are rare.
Habitat. It forms colonies along the shores of lagoons, rivers and lakes on sandy and pebble spits. He prefers to winter on the sea coasts.
Biology. The bird nests colonially along with gulls and other species of terns. In late April, usually 3 eggs of various colors are laid. Both parents incubate for 21–22 days. Chicks of the “semi-breeding” type — are born into fluff, well developed, fly out of the nest in 25–26 days. One clutch per year. In a maneuverable graceful flight, terns fly for a long time above the water surface, “hang” in the air, and then swiftly dive down and catch small fish and larvae of aquatic invertebrates from the surface or slightly diving into the water. A flock of terns makes sharp, cracking sounds. The bird does not land on the water, but for resting it chooses floating objects, stones and reefs towering above the water, or sandbanks.
Interesting fact. Terns are characterized by a marriage ritual - partners circle at a great height, performing various tricks, and then, in turn, offer each other "wedding gifts" - fish. For the peculiar shape of the tail, the river tern is called the “sea swallow”.