- Large, gull-like tern
- Large, thick, red-orange bill with dark tip
- White head with black cap
- White neck and belly
- Pale gray upper wings and back
- White, shallowly forked tail
- Pale underwings with dark primary feathers
- Black legs
Listen to its call.
Before today, my knowledge of terns consisted of crossword puzzle definitions like 'sea eagle' or 'gull-like seabird'. However, I now know there are ten genera of terns, which were once considered a subfamily of the gull family. This bird, the only one in its genus, is the world's largest tern. I saw a number of them at Esquimalt Lagoon earlier this week. They are almost the size of a large gull, which is probably why I've never noticed them before, but they have a distinct way of flying that sets them apart from the gulls.